Lani Warsaw is looking for your help
My parents opened the Village Grille
when I was in middle school. I remember doing my homework in a booth watching them hard at work turning a hockey rink snack bar into a full-service diner. It was a place for parents to relax after dropping their kids off, a quick to-go dinner after a long day of school and practice, an early morning coffee fix before a day of tournaments, and a fun spot to hang with friends on weekends between public skates in an area where very few food options were available. When they struggled in the summers because hockey season was over, they worked with Montgomery Youth Hockey Association to provide lunches to various camps so parents didn’t have to make lunches every day and they could rely on The Village Grille providing a nutritious meal. They listened to their customers for healthier options and high-quality beverages and slowly incorporated a full-service Starbucks bar, deli wraps, salads, bowls, and breakfast options. My parents worked hard to make the restaurant a place the Rockville Ice Arena community could rely on as a high-quality, customer-oriented, family-friendly establishment.
On April 26th, my parents must appear in court as their landlords, the Montgomery Youth Hockey Association board, have requested they pay rent for the past year they’ve been closed due to the pandemic. If you know anything about the Rockville Ice Arena , you know that it sits high, perched on top of a hill far from the rest of the Rockville community. The option to carry-out for my parents was implausible this past year. Almost all their customers come from the Rockville Ice Arena which was closed for many months. When it did open, it was at a limited capacity. Additionally, the Village Grille was advertised as closed through the Rockville Ice Arena’s website and social media.
My parents have been trying to negotiate with the MYHA board for months, asking for any sort of lenience on when they can pay off the entire year of loss and establish a fair lease moving forward given the restrictions. They have been met with silence from the board and a court date instead. I am aware of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which could provide my parents with the funds they need, but unfortunately, the application is not yet out. And if my parents lose the restaurant during this court hearing, they are unable to apply.
My Ask: If you know anyone associated with the Montgomery Youth Hockey Association, please share. We believe the families, our customers, are not aware of the actions their board is taking. In an ideal world, the board sees our plea, drops the court hearing, and settles on a fair negotiation with my parents. It’s a long stretch but it’s our last hope at this point.