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Subway Franchise Owner Owes Former Staff $265,000 in Unpaid Wages

The Bay Area local owns 14 sandwich shops and paid staff with bad checks for years, the U.S. Department of Labor says

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Subway owner Meza owns 14 locations throughout the Bay Area.
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Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

A Bay Area Subway owner was cited for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act numerous times over. John Michael Meza, who owns Subway locations through the North and East Bay, allegedly paid $265,000 worth of bounced checks to workers, coerced staff as young as 14 and 15 to work overtime, and failed to pay wages from staff on a regular basis. The Press Democrat broke the news in March of the child labor law violations, and SFGATE updated the story to include a preliminary injunction filed by the U.S. Department of Labor on May 25.

Initial reports detailed teenage staff alleging their checks bounced, were significantly delayed, or were withheld entirely. “The court has ordered the employer to stop jeopardizing the safety and well-being of minor-aged workers, to pay workers as the law requires and to ensure that workers can participate in our investigation without fear,” Assistant District Director Alberto Raymond with the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco wrote in a statement. The court has ordered Meza, his wife Jessica Leyva Meza, and associate Hamza Ayesh to reimburse staff as far back as 2019.

Why is the San Francisco Giants’ owner trying to block a new clam shack?

Billionaire Charles B. Johnson owns the San Francisco Giants, bandstands for right-wing politicians, and, apparently, is doing everything in his considerable power to block Nantucket’s Straight Wharf Fish Kitchen from opening near his home. SFGATE reports Johnson owns multiple properties in the area, and is not spotted at his cottage in the northeast too often. Still, he and other Nantucket homeowners are leaning on local politicians to stop the opening which Johnson wrote in an email “will negatively affect my property and perhaps most of the Old North Wharf properties.” The Nantucket Current reports on May 12 Johnson’s lawyer filed a lawsuit appealing the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission’s decision to grant the incoming business its liquor license.

Russian River resort gets a facelift and second wind

The new Dawn Ranch at 16467 CA-116 in Guerneville used to go by another name. It was once called Fife’s and for decades it claimed to be the first openly gay destination resort before closing in 2019 thanks to flooding. The Chronicle reports Dawn Ranch is the resort’s new lease on life, and it just opened with chef Fernando Trocca in the kitchen. Trocca is well-known for his tenure at Mostrador in Uruguay, a vegetable-centric and wood-fired restaurant now with two U.S. locations.

Vegan, gluten-free Seattle cult-favorite ice cream shop opens in the Bay Area

For Seattleites, getting a scoop of the all-inclusive Frankie & Jo’s is a classic way to end a night. Now, the northwestern company will open its first location outside of Washington state in Larkspur on June 21. Opening inside the Marin Country Mart, Frankie & Jo’s new scoop shop will serve familiar flavors seven days a week alongside neighboring Bay Area staples including Hog Island Oyster Co. and Rustic Bakery.