GJP Italian Eatery

GJP Italian Eatery in Auburn Plaza on Grant Avenue has closed as of Dec. 20.

An Auburn restaurant has abruptly closed months after its seizure by the state for nonpayment of taxes.

GJP Italian Eatery, located in the corner of Auburn Plaza on Grant Avenue, closed sometime in mid-December. Two "for lease" signs have been placed in its windows.

Tim Kerstetter, property manager of plaza owner Auburn Associates, said it took over the space Dec. 12, meaning GJP owner Salvatore Musumeci probably vacated it a few days prior.

"They pretty much moved out in the middle of the night, so to speak," Kerstetter said.

Kerstetter said Musumeci owed "some back rent," and believes the closure was for financial reasons.

In March, GJP was seized by the state Department of Taxation and Finance due to having three outstanding warrants for a total of $64,542.27 in unpaid taxes. The department returned the restaurant to Musumeci later the same week.

Wednesday, Assistant Public Information Officer James Gazzale said GJP now has five outstanding warrants for a total of $72,708.77.

Musumeci operated GJP under the corporate name Salika Food Service. When the restaurant opened in the plaza in 2010, its initials stood for "Gino & Joe's Pizza." But as of 2013, the affiliation between GJP and Gino & Joe's ended, Oswego GJP owner Larry Miller told The Citizen in April. 

Both Miller and Musumeci bought their businesses from Josie Amato, owner of the GJP location in Fulton. Amato said Wednesday that Musumeci gave no notice he would close the Auburn location.

Amato added that the Fulton location will honor any coupons to the Auburn one if customers call beforehand.

Auburn Associates plans to fill the space with a new restaurant, Kerstetter said, and has already begun meeting with prospective tenants.

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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


Features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.