A crowd of staff members gathered outside Bluefin late Wednesday afternoon telling passersby not to go in, that the restaurant was closed, according to a witness.
Three of Bluefin's staff confirmed the mass walk out, saying that Sekisui had sold the restaurant, with the new ownership taking over on Monday.
The new owner was identified as James Woo.
The trouble began Monday, according to Lashundra Booker, who has worked as a hostess at Bluefin for three years. "He didn't know what to do," she says of Woo. "There was no food, which is a bad thing. The schedule was just for one day. We had to corner him for a meeting."
By Wednesday, there was no chef or sushi chef, they say.
Staff was asked to reapply for their jobs, which is not unusual in such a transition, says Nick Scott, former chef and general manager of Bluefin. He's under contract with Sekisui until the end of the year to help with the transition.
The deal has been in the works for the past couple months. In that time, Sekisui offered jobs for most employees at their other restaurants, says Scott.
Part of the issue, they feel, may have to do with a language barrier. Booker says that Woo did reach out to her for help with other staff members.
On Wednesday, a sign on the door indicated that there was trouble with the plumbing, that the restaurant would be open the next day.
Scott says that he isn't sure what happened on Wednesday that prompted the walk out, only that it was the "breaking point."
He also stresses that this is no reflection on Sekisui as they are no longer affiliated with Bluefin.
As for what happens next, Scott says he's not sure. "I'll be here tomorrow," he says.