Vicious Vegan Battle Comes To Head With By Chloe Financier Keeping Company
A popular New York vegan fast-casual restaurant chain has broken up with the Food Network star who made it famous.
By Chloe is without its Chloe after an arbitrator ruled in ESquared Hospitality’s favor in chef Chloe Coscarelli’s lawsuit against the restaurant and hospitality firm. Coscarelli filed the suit last year, claiming the group was attempting to push her out in a quest to take control of the business they partnered to create, the Wall Street Journal reports.
After the ruling, the restaurant firm announced it was ending its relationship with the star chef. Coscarelli, the first vegan champion on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” partnered with the restaurant group to open the chain in 2015. Coscarelli was to handle the culinary vision while ESquared took care of operations.
According to ESquared CEO Jimmy Haber, the group sought outside investors to help with a bigger expansion after the first outpost in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village did so well. He said Coscarelli backed away and operated in a different direction from her financial backers. Her representatives said ESquared kept her from a meeting with an investor, and she began to worry about how her vision would stick with the growing company.
By Chloe expanded outside of New York last month with its first Boston location at 107 Seaport Blvd. The 2,400 SF space is the company’s largest with another location in Fenway expected to open in the Van Ness building later this year. At Bisnow’s Boston Restaurant Development event earlier this month, architect Ken Feyl of JD LaGrasse & Associates (the firm hired by ESquared to build Fenway’s By Chloe) said the brand was a fit for Boston because of its popularity with students.
This is not ESquared’s first kitchen spat. Haber and famed French chef Laurent Tourondel built an $80M, 20-restaurant empire together under the BLT (“Bistro Laurent Tourondel”) moniker, but the chef ended the partnership just shy of six years together.
The two duked it out in court over breach of contract, disagreements on business practices and the chef’s solo restaurant featuring a “Twinkie Boy” milkshake Haber argued was exactly the same as one at his existing LT Burger. The two reached a truce in 2012 with a licensing deal allowing both to continue to operate the BLT brand.
Coscarelli said she intends to stop the company that was named “Breakout Brand of 2016” by Nation’s Restaurant News from continuing to use her name.