In a complaint filed on May 8, Scott Kasen alleges that as a 33 percent owner of Mission Cantina, LLC, he lent a total of $425,940.82 to the restaurant, where chef Danny Bowien was a partner and public face. A note attached as an exhibit to the complaint shows Bowien agreed that the restaurant would repay the money, as first reported by Bedford and Bowery.
Mission Cantina has not yet responded to the complaint, which is in full below. Bowien did not return Eater’s request for comment.
Apparently this isn’t the first time Mission Cantina has had money issues. On April 19, the restaurant settled with its landlord for $80,000 after months of unpaid rent‚ a sum that Kasen paid, according to the complaint.
Kasen’s lawyer Judd Burstein tells Eater that more litigation may follow. “We don’t believe that this restaurant was operated in an honest and open manner,” Burstein says. “They haven’t provided us the records of the company yet. There should have been sufficient monies to pay the rent. It was completely mismanaged, we believe, and we will be alleging that significant monies went out the back door.”
Mission Cantina opened in 2013 and shapeshifted constantly until its closing in 2016. Bowien opened it as a taqueria, eventually turning it into a test kitchen of sorts, trying out Vietnamese breakfast, pumpkin congee, rotisserie chicken, burgers, fried rabbit, animal-style fries, chicken pho, and fried chicken, finally going all-burrito.