ASTORIA – Artopolis Bakery, New York City’s, if not America’s premier Greek bakery, was closed on March 22 by its majority shareholders Panaghis and Nick Pantelatos and Constantine Tzaras who are also the landlord of the bakery through their company Pantza Realty Corp.
According to Regina Katopodis, Artopolis’ corporate secretary, minority shareholder, day to day manager and face of the bakery, the majority shareholders demanded on March 22, that she keep the bakery closed, despite it being an “essential business” as a food establishment by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during New York’s pandemic lockdown.
Katopodis is well known in the community and has been honored by the National Herald’s Gynaika Magazine as Woman of the Year for her ongoing efforts to support the community. Prior to closing, she donated the bakery’s remaining food inventory to the medical personnel at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Astoria, Queens, location so that good food would not be wasted.
It appears the motivation of the majority shareholders to close the bakery is their desire to oust Artopolis’ minority shareholders Regina Katopodis and gourmet baker Angelo Katopodis of Pi Bakery fame, located in Manhattan’s SoHo district, whose recipes Artopolis is using since 2004 to create its baked goods. Per an email dated May 9, 2019 from lawyer Evangelos Mihos, counsel to the Pantelatos brothers and Tzaras, to Regina Katopodis’ lawyer, “My clients want Angelo out, on or before the end of the month.” Mihos provides no explanation why Angelo should be “out” and no buy-out offer by these three shareholders to purchase Angelo’s shares is provided.
Despite being closed during Easter, the bakery’s busiest time, Regina and her employees were prepared to re-open during mid-May after hearing pleas from the bakery’s patrons throughout the U.S. to reopen so they could savor its delicious goods. She advised the Pantelatos brothers of her intention to open and by email dated May 19, 2020 Nick Pantelatos wrote Regina informing her that they pre-empted the opening — “The landlord [three shareholders] earlier this morning changed the door lock to the store.” This lock out disregards Governor Cuomo’s ban against evictions until after August 20, 2020.
Angelo and Regina plan a court fight against the majority shareholders to re-open the bakery to serve the community and to uphold their rights as shareholders. More will follow on this unfortunate closing.