OWL, formerly known as Hammer And Ales was closed by the State of Nevada this past week, after a stop work order was issued for unpaid benefits and wages.
Even though the very strange and vocal owner Stephan Galdau claimed Facebook that they were shut down “because of construction,” his former Chef Daniel James Schneider went onto social media to point out he was lying and claim that the shutdown was because of mistreatment of employees and stealing of tips. He wrote, “OWL was shut down by the state, not because of construction. And the total mistreatment of the employees, the entire kitchen staff and a few other employees has left the owl.”
A notice on their door from the State showed that Schneider was indeed telling the truth – and that the State had shut down the venue for not paying employees and the owner was lying about “construction.”
As of this writing, according to Schneider and several other employees who quit, they have not been paid their salaries, and the owner would arrest any “former employee steps foot on owl property the police will be called and I will be pressing for trespassing,” if they come to the restaurant to collect past due wages.
Even though OWL was able to pay the fines and outstanding balance of workers’ compensations insurance, OWL was unable to open when the entire kitchen staff quit in response.
The owner Stephan Galdau has been using social media since the start of opening to make enemies of much of the Las Vegas culinary community. After going on social media to attack more than a few people with unusual comments about politics, to why OWL wasn’t closing, to threatening employees who questioned his statements, their official Facebook page even defended rumors that they were looking for another “Bar Rescue” from Jon Taffer — even though they had previously posted they were looking for people to come to be filmed for “Bar Rescue” earlier.
OWL doesn’t look like it has a bright future unless the owner can rid himself of both his ego and more importantly, follow the laws and pay employees when they work. On top, he needs to apologize to everyone he’s insulted this past year through his strange style of dealing and insulting the public.
So far his own response to the criticism by staff and most of Las Vegas, has been a cryptic twitter post, where he claimed that all the negative press wasn’t bad for him. “People talking bad about you isn’t bad. People not talking about you at all is bad. Knowing the difference separates the winners v losers,” he said on his twitter account. He also claimed that the work load was causing him to hallucinate, as he wasn’t getting enough sleep, explaining maybe his strange behavior.
Update: OWL has reopened, and is looking to hire (and maybe eventually pay?) new staff.