Roland Thompson, of Singers Glen, sat in the drive-thru of Jess’ Lunch No. 2 in Harrisonburg on Tuesday afternoon, but no one came to the window.
Cynthia Floros, the owner of the restaurant, was evicted Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. under an unlawful detainer on behalf of John Flora of the Gus Floros Trust, according to documents posted to the restaurant’s front entrance. Cynthia Floros could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The site of Jess' Lunch No. 2, at 1746 E. Market St., is owned by Floros Gus G Trustee and co-owned by Flora Pettit PC, according to Harrisonburg real estate records.
The 68-year-old Thompson said he has been eating Jess’ hot dogs for roughly six decades and frequents the restaurant whenever he comes to the city — sometimes two to three times a week.
“This is my favorite place to eat,” Thompson said from the driver's seat of his SUV in the shade of the Jess’ Lunch No. 2 drive-thru.
Other would-be customers of Jess’ Lunch No. 2 called the restaurant a staple of the community Tuesday afternoon.
When they first began dating, Larry and Donna Simpson would travel to downtown Harrisonburg to eat at the original Jess’ Lunch all the way from Franklin, W.Va.
“It was such a special thing,” Donna Simpson said with a smile on her face. “I just hate to see it go.”
In 1984, it was the first place they took their newborn first daughter, Tiffany, after they left Rockingham Memorial Hospital, according to Larry Simpson.
“She sat there in the booth in her little carrier right beside us and it was the first place she went,” Donna Simpson said with a laugh.
Cynthia Floros was charged on July 24, 2019, in Rockingham County General District Court with failing to pay meals taxes for a portion of 2019.
The Harrisonburg Treasurer’s Office filed embezzlement charges against her as she is also accused of failing to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 in meals taxes.
The restaurant was served with the warrant on Sept. 19 and Floros was ordered to appear in court.
However, she didn’t show up, and a second charge of misdemeanor failure to appear was tacked onto the case.
Floros was charged in July with not obtaining a business license for 2020.
In March 2019, Floros was also ordered to pay the town of Broadway $5,750.71 after a judge issued a default judgment. In addition, she was also ordered to pay attorneys’ fees, $738, and 6% interest on the outstanding balance.
“I knew there were some [money] problems but I didn't know it was this bad,” Donna Simpson said in reference to the closure of the eatery.
Floros failed to appear for her felony and misdemeanor summons on Monday and is due back in court on Oct. 19 on the charges of embezzlement, failure to pay the meals tax, and the charge for her failure to appear in court, according to court records.
Jess’ Lunch No. 2 opened in July 2003 and, before its closure, operated under separate management from Jess’ Lunch downtown and the still-operating Lil Gus’s in Grottoes.
Jess' style dogs can also be obtained at Jess' Main Street Bar and Grill in Luray.
In early February, the original Jess’ Lunch at 22 S. Main St. in downtown Harrisonburg closed its doors. Owner Angeliki Floros said at the time that the decision was difficult and the family had been approached with a deal.
Somebody sent the LLC that owns the properties an offer in June about the restaurant and the parking lot at 54 S. Main St., which the family also owns, Angeliki Floros said in February. She declined to give more details.
George Galanis first opened Jess’ nearly a century ago in 1922 with an American business partner. The American and Greek food eatery was known for its “everything hot dog” with chili, onions and mustard.
In 1955, former Greek soldier and immigrant Konstantinos George “Gus” Floros began working at his great-uncle Galanis’ eatery. Gus Floros went on to buy the restaurant and turned it into a local restaurant icon.
Gus Floros retired from Jess' in 2007 after more than 50 years working at the location and died on March 27 at the age of 91.