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Douglas Development Sues Mike Isabella Over Chinatown Restaurant Lease

Mike Isabella

Chef Mike Isabella is facing a lawsuit from the landlord of one of his first restaurants over $28K of unpaid rent.

Douglas Development Corp. has filed a lawsuit in D.C. Court against the former "Top Chef" star over the unpaid rent and fees at Graffiato in Chinatown, and has listed the space on Sixth Street NW for lease, Washingtonian reports.

It is the latest stumble in 2018 for Isabella. He has amassed a D.C. restaurant empire, with restaurants at The Wharf, on 14th Street, in Maryland and Virginia and a 40K SF food hall at Tysons Galleria, but cracks in the foundation are starting to show. He was sued for sexual harassment in March — a case that has since been settled — and two of his restaurants have closed.

For one of those restaurants, Requin Brasserie in Virginia's Mosaic District, the landlord sued his company, Mike Isabella Concepts, for $700K in unpaid rent and fees, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Douglas Development listed the 4,200 SF storefront, at 707 Sixth St. NW, for lease Tuesday morning, according to Washingtonian. The space is across the street from Capital One Arena. Graffiato opened there in 2011.