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Fort Greene South African restaurant Madiba may close

Fort Greene South African restaurant Madiba may close

The Brooklyn Paper
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Where will we get ostrich carpaccio and monkey gland sauce now?

Fort Greene restaurant Madiba — Brooklyn’s best and only South African eatery — says it is in the red and will have to close its doors soon unless it can scrounge together enough cash to stay afloat. But employees say they still can’t imagine the neighborhood without the 17-year-old staple.

“Leaving is unthinkable, going out of business is unthinkable,” said Madiba’s community outreach coordinator Ruen Ellis. “We’re a community institution.”

The bustling DeKalb Avenue eatery opened in 1999, and has since won over many residents with its colorful decor and fiery curries.

But the eatery has now racked a mountain of debt — at least some of which it owes to loan sharks, according to a Forbes report — and can’t cover its ever-rising rent and building repairs, Ellis said.

The business attempted to expand into Manhattan in late 2014 but closed that outpost within a year — the company claims it struggled because it couldn’t secure a full liquor license there.

Now owner and head chef Mark Henegan is asking customers to help cover his costs and keep the business alive. Fans have kicked in around $16,500 via an online crowd-funding campaign and another $3,500 at a fund-raising event last Wednesday — but that will only cover part the $200,000 he says he needs.

Madiba hasn’t had a lease with its landlord for nearly seven years, so bringing in an outside investor would be difficult, Ellis said.

Still, Ellis says he is heartened by how many people have kicked in cash so far and remains optimistic the restaurant could survive.

“Just from seeing the outpouring of support we know there’s hope,” he said.

If Henegan does raise enough money, the business will either try to negotiate a lease with its landlord or try to find a cheaper space in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ellis said.

Madiba [195 DeKalb Ave. at Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 855–9190, www.madibarestaurant.com].

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.
Updated 2:01 am, December 22, 2015
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Reasonable discourse

bgh from clinton hill/beacon says:
no way! of course, he could think about the hudson valley...lots of transplants here ;)
Dec. 22, 2015, 10:08 am
Soothsayer from Rive Gauche says:
200k? Dude is deluded. He needs to pack it in if he's that far in the red & not fleece the idiots who've rushed to crowdfund a failing business. Ganiff.
Dec. 23, 2015, 8:14 pm
adrienne braxton from fort greene says:
good luck with that, i couldn't even get help with 25,000 dollars to reopen my bakery and i'm sorry but i don't agree with the term "institution" i've been in fort greene since 1979 way before dekalb ave became 'restaurant row' and have actually seen "institutions" demolished to make way for the new"colonists" as if we didn't exist. still, i wish him well, it is never a happy thing for a business to close
Jan. 26, 2016, 12:03 pm
James Dean from Fairmont Indiana says:
Am I missing something - this guy Henegan has admitted to running his business off the books, he has admitted to hiring illegal SA immigrants and paying them off the books - thus his current tax dispute and he has admitted to operating without a permit in the past

He went bust in Fl
He went bust in NC
He went bust Harlem

It seems this is the only area where he is consistent - going bust

He borrowed $200,000 from hard money lenders because no bank would lend to this guy - now he can't pay them back and he has the audacity to call them " loan sharks " and claims he is paying 30 % or more and he does not know exactly how much he is paying then - I wonder if he called them loan sharks when he borrowed their money

And now this guy has a pathetic video clip where he is begging for money - In my opinion there are people who really do need charitable contributions - like the poor children being treated at St Jude's Hospital or those stricken with cancer and a philanthropic organization like the American Cancer Society that help these people facing a terrible disease

Those are worthwhile charities that are helping people that really need our help - not this guy Henegan - in my opinion he should not get a dime
Jan. 29, 2016, 7:42 pm

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