PIQUA — Mulligan’s Pub is set to close at the end of this month after the city decided not to renew their contract with the business for next year.
The owner released a statement on social media expressing shock at the decision while documents from the city of Piqua suggested issues of “outstanding payments” and “cleanliness” played a factor in the decision.
“The staff and I would like to thank our loyal customers for their continued support these last five years. I hate to have to inform you that our lease with the City of Piqua expires at midnight December 31, 2018, and the city has decided that they will not be signing another lease with Mulligan’s Pub,” owner Jeff Cotner posted on the Mulligan’s Pub Facebook page. “I know that this may come as a shock to everyone, as it has been shocking to us as well.”
Mulligan’s Pub is currently located at 110 W. High St. on the first floor of the Fort Piqua Plaza.
“Mulligan’s Pub will continue to operate at the Fort Piqua Plaza until we need to vacate the building. This has been a dream of mine, and I hope that I will find another place to open in the near future where you all may come enjoy all that you expect from Mulligan’s Pub and more,” Cotner said in the statement.
On Wednesday, Cotner said that he had received notice from the city of Piqua that they were not planning on renewing their lease with Mulligan’s through an email on Monday. Cotner said that he is waiting on a response from the city for clarification on why they are not renewing their lease with him.
He said that once he found out, his first priority was to alert his staff.
“They’re all losing their jobs,” Cotner said, adding, “I feel for them more than anything.”
He said he also feels for his customers who have used Mulligan’s to hold parties during the holidays.
Cotner said that he is searching for a new location in the Piqua and Troy area, but he is having difficulty finding one.
The city of Piqua released a statement regarding their decision not to renew their lease with Mulligan’s, saying that there were a number of issues that they could not overlook:
“The City of Piqua has decided to no longer lease space in the Fort Piqua Plaza to Mulligan’s Pub effective January 1, 2019. This decision was made in consultation with the City Commission and city staff based on a number issues. It is unfortunate that these issues experienced during the lease period prevents the city from continuing the lease arrangements, but we feel it is in the best interest to pursue other options for the space.”
In the letter that the city sent to Cotner regarding their decision not to renew their lease, it cited factors of “continual outstanding payments owed to the City of Piqua, problems with maintaining the cleanliness of the facility, and negative survey responses from renters related to the alcohol service provided at the 4th floor Banquet Center.”
The letter also stated that the city will “also consider forgiving all funding owed to the city if the liquor license is transferred to the city.”
In a health inspection dated Dec. 19, 2017, and one dated Feb. 15, 2018, the city of Piqua Health and Sanitation Department noted observing signs of roaches and mice in the facility.
Cotner said that this was an issue that the entire Fort Piqua Plaza building was facing, adding that they spray to prevent roaches and have been doing so since 2015.
“We’re using Terminex,” Cotner said. He said that they have not seen any signs of roaches or mice in “well over a year.”
Those issues were not noted in a health inspection from Dec. 5, but the inspection noted that Mulligan’s was out of compliance with food-contact surfaces, proper cold-holding temperatures, and critical control point inspection. The inspection advised that there needs to be “at least one person must have Level II food safety certification” present as well as noting: the food containers need cleaning; the chest freezer exterior needs cleaning; to monitor food temperatures closely; keep all temperature controlled for safety foods below 41 degrees; and to monitor food contact surfaces and keep them clean.
On Aug. 11, 2017, the police department responded to a report of shots being fired outside of Mulligan’s at around 11 p.m. When an employee told a customer that he needed to leave due to the customer taking his shirt off at the bar, the customer went outside, pulled out a handgun, and fired several shots into an overhanging structure on the plaza’s building.
Cotner said that this type of incident was irregular at his restaurant.
“We don’t have issues,” Cotner said. “Our clientele is a pretty upstanding group of people.”
This year, the police department responded to a couple of minor reports, including an intoxicated male subject on the patio reportedly yelling and causing problems with other patrons on Sept. 16 at 12:35 a.m., according to Piqua police reports. The male subject vacated the premises at the bar’s request and was transported to a friend’s house without incident.
The police department also responded to Mulligan’s when a male subject with a dog was reportedly refusing to leave the bar on Nov. 10, at approximately 7:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the subject left without incident.
In 2015, Mulligan’s and the city of Piqua disputed rumors regarding unpaid utility bills at the pub. According to the lease agreement at that time, which was signed back in late April and early May of 2015, Mulligan’s agreed to pay back $13,500 in outstanding utility bills. According to both Cotner and the city of Piqua at that time, the city was overcharging Cotner on his utility bills. This was due to the city having an incorrect amount of square footage on the utility bills for Mulligan’s.
For a brief period between September and November 2013, Mulligan’s closed. In 2015, Cotner said that closure was due to him not being satisfied with the product that Mulligan’s was putting out.
Mulligan’s has also participated in a number of community events during their time in downtown Piqua, including most recently, Taste of the Arts, BikeFest, and Down a River, Down a Beer.
A public records request to the city of Piqua in regard to its decision not to renew the lease with Mulligan’s Pub is pending. An update will follow when further information is available.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org