Jewish Mother's return to Williamsburg ends abruptly

WILLIAMSBURG — The Jewish Mother's second run in Williamsburg was short lived.

However, the closing of the restaurant and nightspot, which opened in the Triangle Building in April, may have had less to do with business and more do with infighting among rival claimants to the name and trademark rights of the restaurant.

"The Jewish Mother closing didn't have anything to do with that location," City Manager Jack Tuttle said Friday, a reference to recent failed attempts to fill the space. "The city and The Jewish Mother have ended their relationship unfortunately. We're getting the building ready to be marketed again."

Earlier in the week a City of Williamsburg truck was seen hauling furniture out of the building. Tuttle explained the items removed to prepare the space for showing to potential tenants.

The closure has other ramifications besides tax revenue. Rents from the Triangle Building on Prince George Street support the operations of the Williamsburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority. When the Jewish Mother deal was announced last September, city officials were elated to have the building fully rented again.

Losing those rents has an impact on the WRHA budget.

"We have revenue projections in the budget for revenue that will not now be coming in," Tuttle said. "There will have to be adjustments."

Housing authority director Peter Walentisch did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The Williamsburg Jewish Mother was run by Scotty Miller, who had previously been associated with versions of the restaurant in Virginia Beach and Hampton. Miller and Toano businessman David Coleman have been in a dispute about who owns the trademarked name, logos and recipes associated with the restaurant, according to an April story in the Daily Press.

A phone number Miller had when the Jewish Mother opened here is no longer in service.

Miller was suing Coleman and Coleman was trying to stop Miller from continuing to use the Jewish Mother name. Coleman claims to have bought the name and trademark last year in a legal agreement with Miller. Miller is suing Coleman in Virginia Beach, claiming fraud.

"I bought the rights for $100,000," Coleman said in a phone interview Friday.

He said his lawsuit is ongoing, adding that he was not involved in the Williamsburg location but that, as far as he knew, there were no The Jewish Mother Locations open now.

Coleman said he didn't think the closure in Williamsburg was related to his lawsuit.

"The one thing I can say is if you look at the history of The Jewish Mother, locations pop up and then they close."

The last activity of The Jewish Mother's Twitter feed was May 23, the last posts on its Facebook page were in early March. Those dealt with refunds for tickets to canceled shows and the March 4 closing of the Virginia Beach location.

Vaughan can be reached at 757-345-2342.