Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 19, 2013

State shuts down Ducky's over taxes

Longtime Kokomo restaurant goes up for sale

Ducky’s Family Restaurant didn’t make it.

The longtime Kokomo eatery was closed by the Indiana Department of Revenue Tuesday over unpaid taxes, ending the restaurant’s 37-year tenure along East Markland Avenue.

Ducky’s had been featured in an October episode of the Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible,” and TV chef Robert Irvine did his best to revamp the interior of the restaurant and makeover the restaurant’s chicken-and-burgers menu.

Owner Bill Duncan, the son of late Ducky’s founder Donald “Ducky” Duncan, said the outside help wasn’t enough.

“What we had was too little, too late,” Duncan said, adding the business owes around $20,000 in unpaid tax. Duncan said the business owes both federal and state back taxes.

“The thing I think that bugs us the most is that we’ve enjoyed 35 years of serving Kokomo, and we’ll miss that,” Duncan said Wednesday. “They’re like extended family.”

The end has been coming for some time, Duncan said, so Tuesday’s closure wasn’t a surprise. When filming for Restaurant Impossible started in July, the restaurant was around $250,000 in debt, he said. Now the figure is closer to $300,000.

Duncan said he has two potential buyers for the business and he hopes all of his debts can be wiped out through a sale. The Indiana Department of Revenue filed two tax liens against the business last month, and Duncan said he needs to pay several local vendors as well.

The business was shut down for operating without a retail business certificate, according to an IDOR notice posted on the front door Tuesday. State officials can revoke a business’ certificate over unpaid taxes.

In the “Restaurant Impossible” episode, local volunteers worked with contractors to make about $25,000 worth of renovations to the interior of the business, and the menu started featuring items like blackened catfish with cheese grits, red bell pepper and corn salsa.

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