The mastermind “Chloe” behind hit vegan fast casual chain By Chloe is no longer part of the restaurant. TV chef and founder Chloe Coscarelli and her partner, mega-hospitality company ESquared, have gone to splitsville after an ongoing legal battle, according to the WSJ.
ESquared CEO Jimmy Haber had already been bankrolling a $10 million expansion of the business without Coscarelli’s input, leading to several new locations across the country. But those spots may end up with a different name if Coscarelli has her way. The chef — who has a cult following after being the first vegan to win a TV cooking competition — wants her name out of the restaurant now, she told the Journal. “I will protect the integrity of my brand,” she says.
Coscarelli teamed up with the hospitality group, which is better known for business-casual restaurants like BLT Steak, back in 2015 for the first By Chloe on Bleecker Street. — serving vegan baked goods, sandwiches, and salads. The first location was a huge hit, quickly establishing itself as a hip place to eat for the West Village and NYU crowd. They announced plans for new locations almost immediately, including new outposts in Boston and LA.
But by summer 2016, the relationship soured. Coscarelli sued ESquared and alleged that Haber threatened her when she didn’t want the group to open non-vegan restaurant with her name. Meanwhile, new locations continued to open. By Chloe now has outposts in Williamsburg, Soho, and Flatiron, and others are in the works for Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston.
It’s not the first time Haber has gotten into a legal battle with a visionary opening chef. The ESquared BLT restaurants were opened with chef Laurent Tourondel and were short for “Bistro Laurent Tourondel,” but the two split back in 2010. It took an ugly, nine month legal battle for Tourondel to gain the right to use the name BLT again.