New Jersey Division of Taxation Closes Restaurant - leaving employees and customers stuck

NJ Division of Taxation seizes Melange Cafe

Holidays in Haddonfield are Dreary without Melange @ Haddonfield

As the holidays approach us, we renew our quest for a delicious meal that awakens the palate served in a relaxing atmosphere far removed from the hustle and bustle of garish chain restaurants serving mediocre food slapped on a plate. As the town of Haddonfield, NJ brings to life its Christmas shopping season filled with candlelit streets, we are left without its shining star, Melange @ Haddonfield café. Why? Because Chef Joe Brown did not have an attorney that understood his need to be a chef – and his struggles as a restaurateur. After owning Melange Café in Cherry Hill, NJ and achieving much success, Chef Joe Brown opened his Melange @ Haddonfield in 2008, eventually focusing full time on the Haddonfield location and closing the Cherry Hill location.

With those moves and multiple issues that could have arisen (and obviously did arise), Melange received a Division of Taxation Judgment of nearly $72,000 in unpaid taxes which resulted in a state seizure. Brown issued a wrongly written e-mail that blamed the economy rather than providing his fan base with a promise for a future, thus effectively hurting his own future. If Brown had a working system for running his business, he would’ve never had to write such an e-mail in the first place.

Rather than feel sorry for Brown or justified on behalf of the state, this case is one that should be examined and reexamined. What Brown needed was an attorney, like me, with a good working relationship with his accountant. He needed a marketing company that understood the need for a real Point of Sale system and also had a working relationship with his accountant and attorney. Brown’s Epicure Corp, citing himself and his wife as officers, needed oversight that he either may not have received or may not have been willing to have. Perhaps he didn’t want to spend the money on a good attorney, perhaps it seemed easy to run his business (many websites attempt to convince people of this) or perhaps he just didn’t even know what he had. In any case, we will miss his mussels and crème brûlèe.


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