Osaka in Chestnut Hill was closed by the city for failure to pay taxes. The notice (right) was placed on the door last week on Thursday, Sept. 5. (Photos by Brendan Sample)

by Brendan Sample

After settling a separate financial dispute earlier this year, Osaka Japanese Restaurant saw its Chestnut Hill location on 8605 Germantown Ave. shut down by the Philadelphia Department of Revenue for “serious tax violations.” Furthermore, while the matter is still ongoing, an anonymous representative from Osaka claimed that this will ultimately be a permanent closure.

The DOR officially issued a cease operations/stop work order for the restaurant on Thursday, Sept. 5. This did not apply to the restaurant’s location in Landsdale, which remains open. Details regarding the decision are scarce due to existing laws that restrict this kind of information from being shared.

“Businesses that are tax delinquent can have their Commercial Activity Licenses revoked,” said Vicki Riley, Public Information Officer for the DOR. “However, any details about the tax liability are confidential under state law.”

In February, the owners of Osaka were forced to pay nearly $935,000 in back wages and damages for failing to pay their employees for overtime and tips. The settlement was announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, which said that the restaurant had committed “willful violations” of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Owner Kwang Bum Kim was also fined a $65,000 penalty.

If Osaka is indeed done in Chestnut Hill for good, the Chestnut Hill Business District will seek to ensure that the property does not remain empty for long, with another restaurant likely taking its place.

“The Chestnut Hill Business District is disappointed to learn of the closing of Osaka, and of the troubling information that has become public regarding the establishment’s tax delinquency and employee payment practices,” said CHBD executive director Phil Dawson. “We will attempt to work with the property owner to plan for the future re-use of the space and hope to attract an exciting new dining destination to Chestnut Hill in this desirable location.”

Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal.com or 215-248-8819.

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