The Ferry House, once considered a top Princeton restaurant, has been closed down for good.
All of the chairs, tables and dishes have been removed from the property at 33 Witherspoon Street, a sign on the door says “closed”, and another sign advertises that the space is available for rent. Owner Bobby Trigg could not be reached for comment about the restaurant closing.
Court records show that the landlord for the property, JCNB, LLC, filed a suit in landlord-tenant court in Mercer County seeking $12,412 from Trigg. The landlord filed other suits against the Ferry House in landlord-tenant court three times in 2012, court records show.
For the second time in about two years, Trigg is also in the midst of chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings for the Ferry House. After the state closed the restaurant and placed a lien seizure notice on the door in the fall of 2011, he filed for bankruptcy and the state stopped pursuing the matter. According to federal bankruptcy court records reviewed by Planet Princeton, the bankruptcy case was dismissed in June of 2012 for failure to provide information to the courts.
Bankruptcy court records from 2011 showed that the Ferry House owed more than $250,000 in debts to vendors, banks, the State of New Jersey and the Internal Revenue Service. The Ferry House owed the State of New Jersey Division of Revenue $162,283 in sales tax for the period from 2006 to 2010, according to bankruptcy court records from a Nov. 8, 2011 filing. The Ferry House also owed the IRS $21,000 for 2009 and 2010 taxes. Other creditors included Chase Bank, Discover, Blue Crab Seafood and several other food vendors.
According to a 2010 federal tax return filed with the bankruptcy court, the Ferry House operated at a loss in 2010. Gross receipts for 2010 totaled $664,912, but salaries, wages, operational costs and other expenses led to a net loss of $62,056. Trigg did not pay himself a salary from the restaurant that year, according to the tax records.
Last fall the state closed the restaurant again and placed another lien seizure notice on the door. Trigg then filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy again. A hearing on the bankruptcy case is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 6, in federal court in Trenton.
According to the bankruptcy filings, Trigg owes the New Jersey Division of Taxation more than $154,000. His debts total more than $562,000 and he has valued his assets at $45,129.
Trigg opened the Ferry House in Lambertville in 1992, and moved the restaurant to the Witherspoon Street location in downtown Princeton in 1998. He was the star chef in Princeton for several years, and his signature lamb chops were a patron favorite.
In 2006, Trigg and Barry Sussman purchased the Peacock Inn in Princeton. The project faced extensive delays and Trigg and Sussman eventually parted ways. Sussman owns the Peaock Inn, and Trigg went on to become a partner in BT Bistro on Route 1, which is now called Pure.