Son of Greenwich restaurateur arrested as Florida fugitive

The son of a controversial local restaurateur is being held by Greenwich Police after a DUI arrest turned up a warrant for his extradition to Florida. Paul Wahbeh Ardaji, 41, gave his address as 179 North Maple Street, a home he shares with his father Paul Ardaji, 65, owner of a number of restaurants in Connecticut and Florida, including Greenwich’s Toscana.

Initially charged with operating under the influence and without a license, Ardaji is now facing charges for being  fugitive from justice and is being held in GPD custody on $100,000 bail.

According to police reports, shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, an officer noted a man inside a parked white Volkswagen near the intersection of  Railroad Avenue and Greenwich Avenue. The driver’s keys, police said, were in the ignition. The officer initiated a welfare check on the passed-out man.

During the investigation, police noted the distinct smell of alcohol on the breath and person of the driver, later identified as Ardaji. His eyes appeared glassy and bloodshot. He submitted to and subsequently failed a field sobriety test, and was taken in on DUI charges.

His bond for the driving charges was set at $5,000. However, investigators running a check on Ardaji’s Florida license two hours later determined that he was wanted on felony charges in the Sunshine State.

Ardaji was charged for being a fugitive from justice, and held on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford on March 31.

Police could not confirm the Florida charges that resulted in the extraditable warrant. Ardaji had been previously arrested there for drunk driving and contempt of court in 2011, but details on the felony charges remain dodgy.

Ardaji may have picked up his troubles from his father: the elder Ardaji, a former ad man who also has business in Florida, has been arrested a number of times in Greenwich on charges ranging from tax evasion to harassment to disorderly conduct. He was most recently arrested in October 2013 for violating his parole.


Justin Pottle