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Friday, June 3, 2011

Tyler Florence, Celebrity Chef, Sued for "Bailing" on Business Partners

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM

click to enlarge An unsavory deal
  • An unsavory deal

Here is something for celebrity chef Tyler Florence to chew on. His ex-business partners filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing him of pushing them out of a deal to open an upscale restaurant in downtown San Francisco.

According to the lawsuit, Florence, who has appeared on the Food Network, in 2007 approached the plaintiffs, Michael Musleh, Hani Musleh, DBA HLC Enterprises, and Martel and Nabiel Inc., as well as DBA M&N Promotions. He asked for financial backing for his new restaurant which would be located on the ground floor of Hotel Vertigo at 940 Sutter.

The plaintiffs agreed to help with the startup's cost, branding, and promotion of Bar Florence, which would feature the chef's American classic cuisine. A contract was signed, less than a year into the lease, the landlord defaulted, and Florence bailed, according to the lawsuit.

"They were partners, and essentially Tyler pulled the plug," says Eric Miller, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case. He said his clients spent upward of $175,000 on the restaurant that never came to fruition.

Instead, Miller says, Florence opened up Wayfare Tavern, a similar restaurant 13 blocks away at 558 Sacramento. "I hear it's doing quite well," Miller says.

Attorneys representing Florence have not responded to an e-mail or phone calls.

The plaintiffs believe that Florence was able to open his new restaurant because of their investment. So now they want a piece of Wayfare Tavern. "We view it as he was a partner in our deal, and he moved the deal down the street," Miller says.

And that just left a bad taste in their mouths. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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