Doc's Trattoria will be closing its doors Sunday, Dec. 16, on Maple Street in Kent.

Restaurant owners Robert Pizzo and Paulette Manetti-Pizzo, are facing criminal charges in state Superior Court in Bantam on five counts each of employing workers below minimum wage and withholding wages.

They were arrested April 3 and are free each on $500 bond. They pleaded not guilty.

Ms. Manetti-Pizzo said the legal problem has had no bearing on her and her husband's decision to close the popular eatery.

"I feel a resolution has been brought to these charges," she said, declining to give details.

However, the state's attorney's office at Bantam Court reported last week the case against the Pizzos has not been settled and closing the restaurant is not part of a plea deal.

"Any business today is difficult to keep afloat," Ms. Manetti-Pizzo said. "My children are at an age -- a teenager and a 10-year-old -- where it is time to focus more on them.

"I hope we will be remembered for my husband's food, which is loved by many; the beautiful and comfortable atmosphere of our restaurant; and by the phenomenal friends I've made over the years," she said.

The couple were arrested on charges stemming from complaints made by three former employees of Doc's Trattoria to the state Department of Labor, Wage and Workplace Standards Division.

A review of the Pizzos' wage records from a two-year period determined the three complainants were owed $50,117.51, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

A requested delay by the Pizzos in meeting a payment plan with the state was rejected by the wage enforcement officer, the affidavit said.

The current edition of Doc's Trattoria has been in business since 1999.

Previously, Doc's was an intimate restaurant along Lake Waramaug in New Preston.

It was opened in 1989 by Adam Reiss, who was soon joined by chef Riad Aamar.

During its heyday, Doc's was an iconic name in Greater New Milford and throughout the region, known for its Mediterranean fare and for attracting luminaries such as Joan Rivers, Conan O'Brien and Arthur Miller.

The Pizzos bought the business and operated it as Doc's Trattoria and Pizzeria since the summer of 1999.

They moved it to Maple Street in Kent in April 2008.

Addressing "family, friends and patrons," the couple recently wrote on their website, "After more than 15 years of service to our community, Doc's Trattoria is announcing its final days of business. As you can imagine, we do so with mixed emotions.

"We are grateful for the support you have shown our restaurant over the years," the website reads, "Please know that you have nourished us while we were nourishing you."

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322