ASPEN — Little Annie's Eating House, one of Aspen's most affordable restaurants, is facing possible closure for failing to pay about $44,000 in state sales taxes.
State revenue officials changed the locks at the restaurant Tuesday and posted a sign in front saying "SEIZED" in red letters. The business will be auctioned off Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. if owner Ed Dingilian doesn't pay the taxes owed on sales from May through August, revenue department spokeswoman Daria Serna said.
Dingilian told the Aspen Daily News (http://bit.ly/1ct1mZB ) he would try to pay the debt before the deadline. He didn't want to say much for fear of hurting his chances of resolving the situation but pointed to the poor condition of the economy as the reason why the taxes weren't paid.
"It's not any easy time for anyone," he said.
In a town where restaurants serve dishes like sashimi tuna tacos and $50 steaks, the restaurant, around since 1972, serves basic food like hamburgers, pasta and chicken-fried steak. It's named for the daughter of a 1870s silver miner known for her charm and her advice to "travel light in life."
Even if Dingilian is able to pay the tax bill, the restaurant could still be in danger.
The restaurant's lease is up at the end of the month and the building's owners have reportedly been considering leasing it to a new tenant. However, the building would have to remain an affordable restaurant, based on Aspen standards, under a deed restriction placed on the building by the city last year.
Information from: Aspen Daily News, http://www.aspendailynews.com