Right now, Chipotle founder Steve Ells is entangled in a lawsuit from ex-employee Kyle Connaughton that involves a ramen restaurant in New York and David Chang. Eater National has obtained a copy of the suit, and boy oh boy is it juicy. Although none of this information has been confirmed by Momofuku or Chipotle, here is what the suit alleges:
· Chang entered a "confidential business dealing whereby Mr. Chang agreed to develop a ramen concept" with Steve Ells in 2008. Their relationship ended, and Chang refused to tear up a nondisclosure agreement that he had signed with Ells that covered Chang's ramen concept.
· In 2011, Connaughton signed a contract to develop a ramen restaurant with Chipotle that he had previously created on his own. Ells and the Chipotle staff brought in ideas that Connaughton believes were from the Momofuku collaboration.
· After the first location of ShopHouse opened in D.C., Chipotle signed a lease on 12th Street near University Place for a ramen restaurant.
· After a visit to Noodle Bar with some Chipotle execs to meet (and potentially poach) the staff, a Chipotle exec told Connaughton, "Momofuku will sue Chipotle when the ramen concept opens but that Mr. Ells made a decision to proceed anyway." Connaughton confronted Ells about the Momofuku involvement, and a few months later he was fired. Now he's suing Chipotle.
Again, none of this has been confirmed by Chipotle or the Momofuku empire. For more on the nitty gritty of the lawsuit, head over to Eater National.
· Here's the Chipotle Ramen Concept Lawsuit, in Full [~EN~]