LAWRENCEVILLE -- It's a tab that would take 100 years for even the most regular Rexall Grill patron to rack up.
The Duluth greasy spoon owes $248,400 in taxes from the past five years. With interest, penalties and a collection fee, the number soars to $500,336.60.
Proprietor Sandra "Gail" Herrin was given the delinquent bill May 24 and was forced to close Wednesday.
Herrin has not returned a phone call seeking comment, but Linda Alley, the pharmacist who owns Rexall Drugs and the name, location and furnishings for Rexall Grill, said her business partner was overwhelmed following the death of her husband.
Alley has no hard feelings and plans to hire Herrin as manager after a public auction of Herrin's company assets are sold. Since Alley owned all the restaurant equipment, that leaves the tables and Coca-Cola memorabilia that adorned the walls for the July 6 auction.
Then, Alley plans to reopen the restaurant under her own business license.
As a Duluth mainstay for 41 years, patrons are anxiously awaiting the return of the restaurant, as Alley plans to rehire all of the workers and keep the menu. The only thing that will change, she said, is she will take control of the finances.
That returns the famous grill to the previous management design, which Leonard Anglin began in 1969, when he opened the grill as part of a pharmacy shop run by his son.
"Nobody gave me a head's up it was a problem, said Alley, who bought the pharmacy from Anglin in 1998, when Herrin began running the grill on her own, renting the space.
If all goes well with the auction and health inspections, Alley hopes to reopen the grill July 7 or 8.
"I think in the long run, this will be a blessing for her and for me," Alley said Thursday.