The dining room at Saigon Grill on University Place was slammed with noodle noshers on Friday afternoon as patrons by the bar watched ESPN’s live coverage of former pro football star O.J. Simpson’s sentencing for armed robbery and kidnapping.
On Wednesday, the restaurant’s owners themselves were hauled away in handcuffs, charged with more than 400 offenses, including violating minimum-wage laws, demanding kickbacks from deliverymen, tampering with witnesses, and creating fraudulent records to cover up their alleged misdeeds. (Proprietors Simon and Michelle Nget, who also operate another location on the Upper West Side, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.)
The case is the culimination of a two-year battle between the Ngets and their deliverymen over wages, a business cycle marred by protests in front of the restuarants and calls for a boycott.
But, if today’s bustling lunch crowd is any indication, the business is doing just fine, despite the busts.
The owners may be crooks, but the Tom Xao Gung is delicious.