Binghamton police captain Cory Minor said that no arrests have been made in regard to the allegations, and the restaurants’ owners posted on Facebook about the issue. Stating that the allegations were “deeply disturbing,” they also noted that the employees involved had been placed on leave.
Who owns The Colonial restaurant?
Quite a few Binghamton University alumni were listed in a 2018 blog post as the owners of both The Colonial and Dos Rios Cantina. Alex Jaffe, Ron Kweller, Andrew Urso, and Christine Urso were named as owners of The Colonial at that time. Dos Rios listed the same owners as well as Dmitry Traytel, Dmitry Choklin, and Michael Buxbaum.
The most recent ownership for the three restaurants, based on a 2019 SUNY Broome article, only includes Alex Jaffe, Aaron Laughlin, and Jordan Ringden. The restaurant's management is under Hawley Street Hospitality.
The owners of The Colonial and the other two establishments posted on Facebook on Dec. 9 about the closing. Although they referred to the allegations as “rumors,” they claimed that they don’t reflect the values of the company or its employees.
Why has The Colonial closed?
The Colonial, Dos Rios Cantina, and The Stone Fox are all a part of Hawley Street Hospitality. The Colonial was the first to open back in 2015 in downtown Binghamton. Dos Rios Cantina followed in 2017 with a storefront adjoined to The Colonial.
The Stone Fox, the newest of the trio of establishments, opened in the fall of 2020. It was designed as an artisanal pizza bar, with a large outdoor deck and dining area, located at the corner of Washington and Hawley Streets.
Near The Stone Fox opening date, when the COVID-19 pandemic was sending many people outside to limit exposure to the virus, co-owner Jordan Ringden said of the deck, “We just wanted to make a little outdoor oasis for the spring, summer and fall months.”
All three restaurants announced the decision to close until further notice after posts in an area Facebook group called for a boycott. Over a dozen women had made allegations of sexual assault involving members of the restaurants’ staff. The group had grown to over 5,200 members within a few hours of its launch on the morning of Dec. 9.
According to WSKG, the size of the “Boycotting Colonial, Dos Rios, Stone Fox, etc.” group had grown to 5,600 members as of early on Dec. 10. A protest march is being planned for Dec. 11 and will take place in downtown Binghamton in the area of the three dining establishments.
In response to the allegations, the restaurant leadership all posted identical messages on their individual restaurants’ social media pages on Dec. 9. “We will not condone anyone making our establishments unsafe or causing harm to those around them.”
The posts, which have since been deleted from Facebook, also mentioned that the three establishments have “unique ownership structures.” They claimed to be taking the allegations seriously and pledged to conduct internal reviews and cooperate with the authorities on any ensuing investigations.