Buddy’s Diner is back in business.
The beloved Somerville eatery, closed two weeks ago because of a failure to pay more than $24,000 in meals taxes, will reopen Saturday at 5:30 a.m., owner Nicole Bairos said Friday.
The state Department of Revenue seized the business July 18 after years of unanswered requests for payment and months of notifications that the restaurant would face closure.
An abashed Bairos said Friday that the Department of Revenue helped her resolve her tax issues quickly, and the keys to the business were returned to her within two days. The mistake, she acknowledged, was her own.
“I will definitely be able to avoid this in the future,” said Bairos, who has owned Buddy’s since 2006. “They reached out to me and I just ignored it. It was my fault.”
Dan Bertrand, spokesman for the Department of Revenue, said the seizure of the diner officially ended July 26. Bairos is on a payment plan to help put her back in the black.
Known for its greasy spoon culinary offerings and its old-timey vibe — the restaurant is in a snug 1929 vintage lunch car — Buddy’s has been an East Somerville institution for breakfast and lunch since 1951.
Though Bairos said the temporary closure was a source of stress, she was gratified to see the outpouring of encouragement from loyal customers, some of whom have been eating at the restaurant five times weekly for decades, she said.
“I thought people were going to throw me under the bus and say some pretty sad things,” Bairos said. “But the community and the people around us were very supportive.”
The reopening also comes with an exciting development: In the fall, Buddy’s will be open for dinner. “People always asked, ‘Why aren’t you open for dinner?’ ” Bairos said. “I figured now is a good time, since I have a huge amount of debt to pay. So it’s now or never.”