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Dog days here for two Langley restaurants

Dog House employee Keith Harless, left, and Pat Manning ripped up a portion of the Dog House kitchen’s flooring Monday as part of an extensive remodel to the restaurant. Employees are hoping to have the restaurant up and running March 17. - Jennifer Conway
Dog House employee Keith Harless, left, and Pat Manning ripped up a portion of the Dog House kitchen’s flooring Monday as part of an extensive remodel to the restaurant. Employees are hoping to have the restaurant up and running March 17.
— image credit: Jennifer Conway

Two well-known Langley restaurants closed last week, leaving the city without two of its most well established eateries and watering holes. The Dog House Tavern Backdoor Restaurant and The Star Bistro — both on First Street in downtown Langley — both closed with little notice.

According to Mike Gowrylow, a spokesman for the state Department of Revenue, the Dog House had its business license revoked March 1 for failing to pay sales taxes. Approximately $37,000 was owed by the establishment as of October 2004. Gowrylow said members of his agency decided that with the Dog House so far behind on payments that it was time to close it down. Typically, he said, the Department of Revenue tries to keep businesses open as they make payments on past due taxes.

“Our philosophy is to keep a business in business,” he said.

Gowrylow said tax non-compliance orders — like the one issued to the Dog House — are often issued to Washington restaurants. In 2004, approximately $64.1 million — or 1.1 percent of what collected from all Washington restaurants — was owed in taxes from restaurant establishments.

According to the department, 15 Langley eating and drinking establishments reported an earning of approximately $3.3 million in 2003. Earnings were down from previous years, when 18 establishments reported about $5 million in sales in 2000. Eighteen restaurants reported $4.7 million in sales in 2001 and 15 reported $4.8 million in sales in 2002.

At the Dog House this week, employees and family of the restaurant owner Pete Jacobs were using the closure as a chance to refurbish the inside of the restaurant. They anticipated that the tavern and restaurant would open on March 17 after the work on the establishment was complete. Jacobs did not return a call to The South Whidbey Record for comment.

Gowrylow said the state Department of Revenue had no involvement with the closure of The Star Bistro. Owners of the restaurant did not return calls to comment on the reason for the closure or to say when or if the Bistro will reopen, but an answering machine at the restaurant says the restaurant will be closed for the month of March.

The Dog House building was constructed in 1908 by the Olympic Game Club and became the Dog House Tavern in 1933. The Star Bistro opened in 1988.

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