Restaurant owner ends 3-day hunger strike, allowed to temporaril - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Restaurant owner ends 3-day hunger strike, allowed to temporarily display sign outside

PALM BEACH SHORES, Fla. - A small business owner takes extreme measures to get his point across to the Town of Palm Beach Shores.

Yianni Karabelas says he thought the town was going to work with him to approve a sign that advertises his restaurant outside of the Seaspray Inn and Beach Hotel, but instead he got a second citation. 

The Mediterranean Taverna restaurant is located inside the hotel on Ocean Avenue. Karabelas said he gets 70 percent of his business from the "a-framed" sign outside. 

"If I don’t have a sign to promote my business in front of the hotel, there’s no point for me to be open because nobody will come," added Karabelas. "We’re on the 4th floor and people they are not going to come up here to see my menu and my hours."

In June, Karabelas talked to town board members after receiving a citation for the sign. He says they agreed to discuss the issue so he could continue advertising using the sign.  

"Two months after that meeting and after the decision was made by all the town officials, they [code enforcement] came and they serve us with a paper saying that I have to remove my sign or else," added Karabelas.

The or else was to possibly pay a fine of up to $250 a day if the sign was not removed. 

"I didn’t know what else to do, there was no other option for me," said Karabelas about his decision to initiate a hunger strike.

For three days he went on strike outside of the hotel to get a message across to town officials. On the third day, he says he got a call from the mayor. 

"He told me Yan, put your sign back and go upstairs to eat something," added Karabelas.

We tried to reach out to the mayor, town clerk, and town manager for clarification on the issue. Current town code says such signs can be placed on a business property if approved by the town. 

"I just hope they are going to treat us the same way they do big corporations," said Karabelas. 

Karabelas says the mayor said the issue will be discussed at the next town meeting Sept. 15. 

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