Two years ago, vegan TV chef Chloe Cascarelli inked a deal with ESquared — the company behind boring business casual dining establishments like BLT Steak and Casa Nonna — to open a cutsey, meatless fast casual restaurant called By Chloe. The cafe on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal was an immediate hit, and the team quickly announced plans to open several more outposts of the chain in New York, as well as Los Angeles and Boston. But now the Post reports that Chloe is suing ESquared over threats the company’s head honcho, Jimmy Haber, allegedly made when their deal went sour.
Coscarelli originally signed a deal with Haber and his daughter Samantha Wasser to open the restaurant, which was clearly designed to be a chain in the vein of Shake Shack. But after Chloe refused to let the group open non-vegan restaurants under her name, Haber allegedly said "that she would need a bodyguard if she dared to meet with him in person." Then, according to the Post, Wasser made a deal to sell all the company’s assets to Papa Haber, in exchange for a loan of $5 million. Chloe says she never okayed the deal, and Esquared’s lawyer says that the company "has always — and will continue to — act in the best interest of By Chloe."
No word yet on whether the lawsuit will delay the opening of the Flatiron, Seaport, and Soho locations of the chain. Stay tuned for more details on the fate of By Chloe as they become available.