The U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton, Jr. just sentenced the former owner of Spice Modern Steakhouse (Website)  to spend four years and nine months in federal prison for failing to pay employment taxes for his staff.

Manuel Tato owned several restaurants around Orlando between 2010 and 2017, including the aforementioned steakhouse by Lake Eola, which closed suddenly in the summer of 2017. According to court documents, Tato used a central entity, Core Food Group, to process payroll for his estimated 645 restaurant workers. The issue was, that even though his company withheld employment taxes from his workers’ paychecks, he never actually sent those funds to the Internal Revenue Service. Which is obviously against the law. It’s estimated that Tato’s Core Food Group failed to pay over $2 million in taxes to the IRS.

Tato was indicted in September 2022 and pleaded guilty in April 2023. Aside from jail time, Tato will also be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and $93,690 to his former staff.

Spice was located at 407 E. Central Avenue [GMap] where Osphere Neighborhood Grill and Bar is now located.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. I used to work for thus guy he was cool Christmas party’s he go all out for the employees. I worked at this location for about 2 yrs