As if things aren’t tumultuous enough in the Federal Hill area with Neighborhood Associations cracking down on rowdy establishments hell bent on expanding their businesses to the nth degree, comes the news that Ryleigh’s Oyster owner-in-name-but-not-finance Brian McComas has initiated the sale of the property currently inhabited by No Way Jose Cafe (38 East Cross St.), whose operators are currently leasing the space. The intention, at least it would seem at this moment, would be for the building occupied by No Way Jose Cafe to be gutted and subsequently incorporated into adjacent Ryleigh’s Oyster, allowing Ryleigh’s to “remain competitive” with the other bars in the area. The owners/operators of No Way Jose were unaware of the deal, and have been trying to purchase the building they occupy for quite some time.
Fans of No Way Jose have banded together and
formed a Facebook Event (edit: as of 10:30am 4/30, the event has been removed due to hostile commentary towards McComas’ family. Over 1,000 folks attended the “event” – there is however now a Facebook Group and a Friend Page for those interested), calling for the widespread boycott of Ryleigh’s and its related restaurant ventures, namely Taverna Corvino (which is also currently expanding into an adjacent property purchased by McComas) for what they feel is an unethical business deal, including establishments not currently in operation – Turners/Billabongs and Federales – should they reopen in the future.
McComas is widely known for his …interesting career path in the bar/restaurant business, with his various family members holding court over his various operations, some never coming to fruition due to impropriety on his part, and in some cases infidelity. A lot of hostility has been fostered by various individuals toward his establishments in the past, notably a Thanksgiving-related bar crawl in 2009 benefiting Special Olympics he pulled the plug on – the day it was scheduled to occur – forcing hundreds of people to scrap their plans and reorganize, costing thousands for the charity.
I’ll give him this much, the guy knows how to make waves. In the meantime, best of luck to the folks at No Way Jose!