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Post from Food/Drink News Feed - CultureMap Houston
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It's been just under two years since Ruggles Grill finally came back to life 18 months after Hurricane Ike. And yet the restaurant — a pioneer in the Montrose/Lower Westheimer neighborhood decades ago — is still seeing plenty of drama.

On Saturday, five employees, including one manager, walked out of Ruggles over non-payment of tips, effectively shutting down the restaurant. But Ruggles owner Bruce Molzan tells CultureMap that the issue is not financial problems but a rogue employee.

"The tip issue is kind of amazing. Someone on the management team was collecting cash tips and instead of handing them out he was putting them in his pocket," says Molzan, adding that the manager also corrupted computer files and sales records to cover his tracks.

Houston police confirm that an incident report has been filed in the matter, though they could not give any details on the ongoing investigation.

"I'm a chef and I'm trying to get the food out and make sure that our customers are having a good experience. I can understand them being mad and we're fixing it," says Molzan.

Molzan's account is significantly different than what employees told the Houston Press, which is that the problem has gone on for months, that many of the tips owed are from credit card sales and that they were paid by personal check rather then receiving proper pay stubs recording hours worked, taxes and rate of pay.

"He's been abusing us for a long time," former Ruggles employee Jeremiah Villarreal tells CultureMap. "Bruce knew we weren't getting paid. If someone would ever come to the restaurant trying to get money they were owed, he would just leave. The GM used to try to help us and get us paid with cash but Bruce would take it."


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