Sometimes, all you can say is “Oy.”
For example, when a local newspaper prints a classified ad announcing a bankruptcy, and your business has the same name as its unfortunate doppelganger — and then your customers call up to commiserate with you and your business begins to dry up.
That omg scenario is precisely what happened to Benjy Rote, the owner of Benjy’s Kosher Pizza in Fair Lawn. Happily serving pizza, falafel, tuna salad, egg salad — “everything,” he said — during the Chanukah rush, he suddenly received a host of phone calls after an ad appeared in the classified section of this newspaper.
Headed “United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York/In re: Benjy’s Kosher Pizza and Dairy Restaurant, Inc.,” the ad detailed the company’s financial indebtedness and auctions planned to disperse its assets. As it happens, it was a different Benjy’s.
“It was terrible,” said the Fair Lawn Benjy, understandably agitated. “Everyone started calling. The Fair Lawn Jewish Center” — to whom he supplies a good deal of food — called and asked me, “What’s going on?” He was, to say, the least, “confused.”
Benjy’s, which has been open since 2010, is definitely alive and well and serving a steady stream of 60 to 70 customers a day. “We’re always busy,” the owner said.
To make matters worse, he had never even heard of another pizzeria with the same name — although there is a Benjy’s Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Flushing, Queens. (To prevent further heart palpitations to restaurant owners, let’s say right here that this writer does not know whether that is the pizza parlor in question.)
“Less people are coming in since the ad,” he said. “They’re all talking about bankruptcy. I said why are you calling me and they showed me the paper.”
Benjy wants his once and future customers to know that “We’re still here and we serve everything. This was all a big mistake.”