NOTRE-DAME-DE-GRÂCE – Nader Zarkari has been running Copoli for 26 years, a popular eatery tucked in the heart of NDG.
Whether he’s cooking or welcoming clients, he’s always around, making sure the restaurant is running smoothly.
However, earlier this week, his loyal customers received some bad news.
By the end of March, Copoli will be closing its doors.
“We have four apartments up there, one restaurant here and one Depanneur downstairs,” Zarkari said. “It means two business we have [and] they give me the bill for $14,000.”
Zarkari has been in disagreement over business taxes with his landlord for years.
He said they’re asking him to pay too much.
“I payed before $5,000, $6,000, $4,500 till now, what happened that’s changed?” he said.
A few years ago, Montreal got rid of its business tax, forcing landlords to assume the fees.
Landlords are supposed to pass on the cost by using a formula to calculate how much a commercial unit should pay.
Zarkari thinks his part is too high, so he and the landlord decided not to renew the lease – and customers are disappointed.
“Breakfast here is cheap and it’s really delicious and it really disappoints me that they’re leaving,” Sebree Laurie, a regular Copoli client said.
One NDG resident told Global News he eats at the restaurant multiple times a week.
“It’s a great ambiance, it’s a great location and it’s going to really be missed,” Dan Stefik said.
Global News reached out to one of the landlords for comment, but he declined our request for an on-camera interview.
However, he told us he isn’t charging Copoli $14,000 – he said he’s asking for much less.
Either way, Zarkari told us he’s moving on.
“After 26, 27 years, nothing changed, everything is the same thing,” he said. “It’s a good sign.”
Because of that, the local favourite is promising its customers it isn’t closing for good.
They’re already looking for a new location, hopefully in the area.
© 2016 Shaw Media