Farmers’ Cabinet Open As a BYOB After Raid and Arrest of Matt Swartz

farmersCab1On Wednesday night, Pennsylvania State Police raided Farmers’ Cabinet, confiscating more than 800 bottles of liquor and arresting co-owner Matt Swartz. But the restaurant isn’t closed. Despite being known for their esoteric beers and fancy cocktails, Farmers’ Cabinet has gone BYOB, says a source inside the restaurant.

The Farmers’ Cabinet doesn’t have a current liquor license (that’s what brought out the State Police in the first place), so they’ll be forced to operate as a BYOB until they can get one.

But a licensee cannot renew its liquor license if it has outstanding state tax bills, and according to a case filed in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, the Farmers’ Cabinet owes the state at least $33,000 in employment taxes. Swartz recently told me that the “taxes have been settled,” but then he also told me that he had a current liquor license. The lien remains active, according to court records.


On Wednesday night, Swartz was transferred to the 9th Police District. As of Thursday morning, he was awaiting arraignment on charges of forgery, tampering with official documents, selling beer and liquor without a liquor license, and conspiracy, according to police.

  • Anonymous

    A BYOB cocktail spot. Cool!

    • Ralph Moustachio

      The next hipster trend.

  • The Jerk

    He is going to have to make that bail money somehow.

  • Master Splinter

    if you guys run into my four sons Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael please let them know that their father is looking for them. They should have been in the house by 10 o’clock. Thank you all for your cooperation.

    • casey jones

      I seen them about an hour ago down by the park

      • joe blow

        They were by Zavino’s last I heard.

  • Val

    Instead of focusing on the faults of one guy… how about we discuss the fact that numerous employees will be loosing their incomes during the Holidays. In fact… since FOOBOOZ is so concerned with this incident, and holds so much weight in the Philadelphia dining industry, why don’t they use their media powers to rally support for the individuals affected negatively by this incident. Perhaps a call to other restaurant groups to find positions for folks who lack any other options. Or maybe individuals can visit the new BYO spot and throw a couple of bucks towards the employees who are working (obviously because they need money). Wouldn’t that be a productive use of this forum? Shouldn’t we be supporting the people whose lives are reliant on this industry and its community. They’ve made no mistakes and they are certainly receiving the worst consequences.

    • Barstool Sample

      Very, very, very well said.

    • Emily

      Here, Here.

    • Hal Schirmer

      Good point. There may be a way to make something good out of this.
      Time to create “reverse crowd funding”.

      Organize all the unpaid workers, have them force a chapter 11 reorganization, then THEY own the business. Keeping the FC business going is the only realistic way anybody is going to get paid back.

      So, the numbers.
      How many employees with claims in the $400 to $1,000 range?

      Check cashing judgments are $500-$600 on or bounced checks.
      One supplier has a judgment around $6,000. Brinton has a $45,000 claim and Sherman has $54,000. So, around $106,000 in judgments to creditors.
      That’s enough to force a bankruptcy and restructuring, replace the management, install a competent trustee, start paying people back.

      • Barstool Sample

        So a healthy dose of sarcasm is the answer. Happy we figured that out. Thanks Hal. Dick!

        • Hal Schirmer

          Nope, a healthy dose or realism. I’m dead serious about this.

          The business appears to be cashflow bankrupt, bills and taxes are not paid as they come due. The mechanism to deal with that, and keep the business as a going concern, would appear to require a restructuring and the removal of current management.

          Now the people who are owed money have a reason to see the business succeed. If that proceeds through an organized process, then the business might continue. If each creditor continues to act independently, with no realistic opinion of the balance sheet, then the business will fail as happened with Tap&Table, Fork&Barrel, Butcher&Brewer, and the 824 S 8th.
          -”Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”

          • joe blow

            You’ve got a good idea, but someone better hurry before the LLC goes bankrupt and everybody plays dumb. Then no none gets paid.

          • Scadams

            It could work. The team @ the former Tap & Table in Emmaus took over the lease & have successfully run the concept under the name The Trappe Door ever since Swartz ran off in the night & left them jobless. That being said there was still a vaild liquor license in place…

    • http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/ Art from Foobooz

      Foobooz Jobs. Good jobs available.

      • Barstool Sample

        At Foobooz? Lmfao! Half of the city qualifies for that job. It takes no skill, actual food knowledge, or palet. Only a laptop and a vendetta.

      • Val

        Hey Art,

        I’m aware of Foobooz’s available job postings. It was more of a critique on the focus of your article. Also considering the nature of the service industry in Philadelphia and the last few years of press affiliated with the Farmers Cabinet name, many of these folks (especially in management) will have their skills, and experience critiqued and discredited. I am not currently employed by the Farmers Cabinet or any of the other establishments owned by Matt Swartz. If Foobooz were to publish an addendum to this article focusing on the plight of the remaining employee’s it would do worlds of good for them and also highlight the true “victims” in this situation. Rather then just sensationalizing the comical “Restaurateur Villain” that Mr. Swartz has become. Let’s be conservative and say between the two establishments they have 30 employees. You don’t currently have 30 positions listed. Also many industry veterans can attest that a bulk of your winter income is made in the next few weeks (for tipped positions). It is that income that usually sustains people through the slower winter months. Also… I’ll go on to dissect the term “good jobs”. As an individual with over a decade of FOH experience under my belt, I’ll state that it is a thankless, and dehumanizing industry. Most FOH positions are considered completely disposable (even in the big name “quality” restaurant groups). Obviously that problem wont begin to be solved in this conversation, but considering that every writer on the Foobooz payroll is being fed from this industry, perhaps you can begin to publish articles that focus on all facets of the industry. Not just advertisements for establishments you approve of, and defamatory critiques of the less fortunate. I mean, I’m sure many of your writers have some true passion for productive journalism. Sort of like the legions of intelligent, educated, and under-appreciated people who compose Philadelphia’s restaurant industry.

        • Kay

          There is a job section of this website. This section is not that place. The focus of their articles is just what’s happening in the restaurant world, not helping the “poor individuals” who choose to continue to work there. That’s their own choice, and like someone else said, if they have any sort of experience and are good at what they do, they shouldn’t have any issue finding another job. Why does the responsibility fall on Foobooz to help these employees? Why don’t they help themselves? Restaurant employment is at will, so they can leave at anytime. While it is unfortunate the timing of this, it’s not the fault of Foobooz for writing about it. Also, the fact that they are writing to say farmers cabinet is still open as a BYOB should help people to know they can still go there for food if they choose.

          • jay

            I’m not particularly in favor of any initiative to help the employees and not particularly at fault.

            But there’s something so smarmy/snarky about what Victor is doing here. He isn’t writing it like a journalist. He’s writing vindictively. I can’t quite put my finger on what I don’t like about it but I wasn’t the only one who noticed this.

            And to be clear, Matt Swartz can burn in hell for all i care, but this pissing match between him and Victor is like trying to pick sides when the Cowboys play the Giants.

        • Charles

          Val, all the FOH employees there knew the situation, many of them returning to that shithole after other ventures(even when given the advice not to), but they all said that swartz paid in cash now and is “different now”, and that’s how they rationalized it. The lesson there is that when your employer needs to pay everyone in cash, because all his credit lines have been frozen, it’s time to leave. Most of them didn’t. Oh well.
          Let’s not blame the restaurant business for their poor judgement. It’s true the restaurant business is thankless and dehumanizing but, again, when you spend years watching one man, who is your boss, cheat and steal, and you still trust he won’t burn you, you are more at fault for your position in life as said employer.
          That said, all the FOH employees that are left there have friends in this business who will be there to help them any way they can. They’ll be fine.

      • SJDinAudubon

        Screw you, Art.

    • joe blow

      Because it’s not that easy. Foobooz isn’t an employment agency, they’re a food blog. What are YOU doing to help the staff? Did your Metro PCS phone run out of minutes for the month, or can you “make a few calls”? Any employee that actually has a good resume will land on their feet, and will no longer be working for a crook.

      • Val

        Hey Joe Blow,

        I’ve done the best I can do. Having open discussion and stating my honest opinion. It’s true… this is a FOOD BLOG, chronicling the FOOD INDUSTRY which employs FOOD INDUSTRY WORKERS. I was just suggesting they publish articles that discuss the realities of that industry.

        I’m not even going to begin to argue your closing statement Mr. Blow… but it looks like someone needs a little genuine human empathy for christmas. Be well… feel better. *HUGS*

        • joe blow

          *CAPS LOCK MAKES THINGS LOOK IMPORTANT*

        • JA

          When you play with fire you get burned. I’m sure most of the people working at Farmers Cabinet are decent hardworking people…but they made a choice to work for a scumbag…and it didn’t work out. It’s too bad they’re in this situation…but they went to bed with Matt S…and he SURELY, F*^&#% THEM…..AGAIN!

    • bertinanth764

      My Uncle Jacob got an
      awesome green Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab just by working from a macbook…
      great post to read B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

    • LL

      Because this is a restaurant blog, and not a charity for workers don’t have a problem working for a known deadbeat. Because numerous ex-employees have found new employment without Foobooz having to hold their hand, so nothing is stopping this current crop. Because visiting the BYO spot won’t help the employees who will be most affected i.e. the bartenders who won’t be in there at all. Because supporting a Swartz venture is supporting a criminal and a business that can’t survive without screwing over its purveyors and staff. Because as long as FC is in business, small business owners (and landlords, and workers) who don’t know Swartz’s reputation will be in danger of getting paid in bad checks or having to sue and going broke while waiting on a court to enforce the judgement ordering Swartz to pay them the money he owes. Because patronizing and/or working for Swartz is showing that you are ok with giving money to a convicted felon who is not going to use that money to pay his debts, but instead to try and pay his way out of jail time since he thinks he is above the law.
      Sorry if this comes across as cold, but you are not the first to suffer because of Swartz’ incompetence. There are dozens of others who had to walk away from that place, being owed money, many unable to collect unemployment, but they picked themselves up and moved on, appreciative of the fact that the media was doing a public service by warning others about our former employer’s shady business practices.

  • The Scotsman

    Christ almighty Victor. Let it go already. Hasn’t your irresponsible ‘journalism’ hurt enough innocent people who are doing nothing more than trying to support their families. And by the way, why did you use an old photograph at the header of your article? Couldn’t get through the front door to take a new one?

    • Barstool Sample

      Stock photos. Definitely the sign of a professional. Victor is a troll. Can’t wait to run into him somewhere.

    • Kay

      Why do you continue to read and comment on his articles if you dislike him and his writing so much? No one is forcing you to read this site and you’ve made it clear it’s not to your liking. So why waste your time continuing to write negative responses?

      • Sammo

        Because both The Scotsman and Barstool Sample are Matt Schwartz

        • Jay V Of Considerable Influenc

          Actually, they are more than likely his wife, and not Matt himself. The key is that she is literate, and he is not.

    • Last Man Standing

      Paul, get a real job and stop defending this loser. Just because he hasn’t fucked you over YET, doesn’t mean everyone else he has fucked up the ass should remain silent so you can stay employed.

      • Paul

        Paul here. I was just informed that my name had been dragged into this thread in spite of my refusal to even look at these message boards up to this point. I’m not upset about you insulting me or my job directly, nor am I upset about the things you’ve said in other posts like calling me (and all of my co-workers) “scumbag[s] with zero moral fiber” due to the fact that they’re unwilling to quit steady employment during a major economic downturn. I expect this and more since I know you to be a douchebag, and I don’t mind bad feelings directed toward me so long as they come from someone who has never given me reason to respect him. I’m just a little upset that you’re so quick to attribute the Scotsman’s terrible grammar to me.

        • Yep

          Paul, FTW

  • JA

    Can one of the employes from “F Cab” ask Matt S. how the B-O-L-O-G-N-A sandwiches at the “roundhouse” are? What kind of cheese did they use….did he pair the sandwich with water or juice?

    • Barstool Sample

      How bout i just feed you a knuckle sandwich instead?!

      • Amazed!!!

        HOLY CRAP, YOU CAN PUNCH SOMEONE THROUGH THE COMPUTER?????

    • mr. mustache

      I love tough people who hide behind computers. Maybe we can make it 2 knuckle sandwiches.

  • Hal Schirmer

    Who owns the publicity rights? This could become a Food Network mini-series.

  • Steve

    It has been a common complaint at all of his Philly establishments (Fork and Barrel, Boiler Maker, Farmer’s Cabinet) have had a revolving door of chefs and that the food tended to be overpriced and mediocre. While I feel for the employees, at the same time I am not going to go support a place where the employees will likely still get screwed out of their money while I waste my hard earned cash on poor quality food. The beverage programs are what kept these places afloat for so long, not the food.

  • Rashad Johnson

    Sounds like a good old fashioned witch hunt, I wonder who’s behind it?

    • Forgers Cabinet LLC

      Possibly the former employees who are owed unpaid wages, the multiple small businesses that had to sue him for non-payment of goods, the landlords he skipped town on, the wire fraud victims who were conned out of their life savings….its a long list of suspects, I say we just blame karma

      • Rashad Johnson

        Sounds about right .

  • Rashad Johnson

    Swartz must have had pointers from Neil Stein ,I never got one paycheck when I worked for Avenue B.