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Portis Country Kitchen closes temporarily due to plumbing issues

Portis Kountry Kitchen
Posted at 7:11 PM, May 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 20:12:41-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The owners of Portis Kountry Kitchen said they’re frustrated after they’ve had to close their doors to customers over constant plumbing issues.

The restaurant is located in the old Wells Fargo building at 615 N. Upper Broadway. The restaurant owners say they believe the building owner is not helping them at all when it comes to their concerns.

For several months, the plumbing issues have persisted, causing Katina and Joseph Stith to turn customers away. Sometimes for more than a week. But this is not the first time.

“So every time someone uses the restroom in this building or it’s raining, it backs up on the street and because we’re in the basement, we receive all of the extra," Stith said.

The extra she’s referring to is not only water, but also toilet paper, trash and human waste. All of this draining into the dish washing area of the restaurant.

The owners have operated PKK in the Wells Fargo building for over a year and said they’ve tried reaching out to management every time this issue has occurred.

“Just last month, they closed us down for a whole week," Stith said, "We asked if they could help compensate us for that time, because this is a building issue. We were not compensated for that time, in fact, the wording was ‘Use your own insurance.’ “

The Stiths said they’ve even hired their own team to look at the pipes after finding out they were damaged and corroded. The damaged pipes and flooded drains are now impacting the walls and carpet flooring of the restaurant.

In addition to voicing their concerns to Action 10, the owners said they've also reached out to the building owner, city management and others entities that could help. But they said they have not received any assistance besides the help from the Downtown Management District.

In fact, Katina and Joseph just received a notice to vacate in 30 days. Although they’ve already had future plans to move to a new building to accommodate the increase of customers, the couple said what they really want from those who own the building is ownership and accountability.

“We just would like the building to take ownership of the problems that continue to persist here in this building. Instead, right now, they’re fixing up the lobby area, but the piping is an issue," Stith said.

The owners are attributing the building management's alleged negligence to their placement as a small Black-owned business in Corpus Christi.

Stith said she and her husband feel heartbroken and discriminated against, as they actively work to set a standard and represent all Black-owned businesses in the area.

Tyko Management, which owns the building, sent Action 10 a statement saying, “Tyko management has responded promptly to all plumbing issues brought to our attention. We dispute any statements made by Mr. & Mrs. Stith to the contrary. There are no plumbing issues that persist. As a company that supports local, black-owned businesses, we deny any discrimination claims against us as they are untrue and have no merit."

For now, PKK says they’re hoping to be back up and running soon.

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