by Ian Froeb
Salt (4356 Lindell Boulevard, 314-932-5787), Riverfront Times' "Best New Restaurant" in 2011 and a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's "Best New Restaurant" award for 2012, is embroiled in a legal battle with its landlord, according to court documents.
Updated with comment from Salt after the jump.See Also:
On Monday, August 20, Ta Daa LLC, which owns the building Salt occupies at 4356 Lindell Boulevard, sued American Larder LLC (Salt's corporate entity) in civil court in the City of St. Louis for "unlawful detainer" -- essentially, occupying a property without the legal right to do so. (For the legal mumbo in jumbo form, see Revised Missouri Statutes, Chapter 534: Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer.)
According to a petition filed by attorney Hugh Eastwood representing the plaintiff, as of August 6 American Larder "was behind in rent (and late fees) $51,025.97."
After serving American Larder a notice of default on Wednesday, July 18, and giving the restaurant ten days to make repayment, on Monday, August 6, Ta Daa terminated the restaurant's lease. One week later Ta Daa gave the restaurant notice to vacate the premises by Friday, August 17. The restaurant did not -- and has not -- complied.
Update: (Tuesday, October 2, 3:30 p.m.) An important detail to add, again from plaintiff's own petition. According to court records, on Thursady, August 9, or three days after the termination of the lease, American Larder "through its lender Merchant Advance Funding made out of time and after lease termination a partial payment of $13,950.82" and on Tuesday, August 14, or one day after receiving the notice to vacate the premises, "made out of time and after lease termination another payment by wire of $37,075.15."
The two payments total the $51,025.97 figure referenced earlier. According to the filing, Ta Daa acknowledges receipt of both payments but still seeks "an unequivocal legal right to possession of the premises".
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Attorney Clay Scott Brinkman, representing American Larder, requested a hearing, which is now scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, in the courtroom of Judge Calea Stovall-Reid.
Attempts to reach Eastwood and Brinkman have so far been unsuccessful. More as we learn it.
Update 2: (Wednesday, October 3, 3:10 p.m.) Reached by phone this afternoon, Matt Obermark, co-owner of Salt, told Gut Check, "I'm not able to make a statement" at this time because the matter is still in litigation. (He did speak to Sauce on Tuesday, however, telling Ligaya Figueras, "We're not going out of business.") We were able to leave a message with Salt's attorney this afternoon, however. More as we hear it.
Page through to read the court filing against American Larder.