Bareburger’s top NYC franchisee is desperately trying to get out of a contract with the burger chain with a health ethos.
Michael Pitsinos, owner of five locations in Manhattan, has declared bankruptcy at three of them and is suing Bareburger owners, including brothers Euripides and Eftychios Pelekanos, for poor management, the Post reports. Pitsinos claims the owners — who have operated his stores for the last two years as they explored a deal to buy the restaurants — have sabotaged his business with the intent to drive Pitsinos into debt and buy the locations for less money.
The restaurateur claims the owners didn’t pay rent, payroll taxes, and food suppliers during the time they operated his locations, yet continued to pay themselves management and licensing fees, according to the Post. One of the locations includes the Bareburger’s Upper West Side spot at 795 Columbus Ave., between 97th and 100th Streets.
It’s not the first time the burger chain has been sued by a business partner: One of the original founders sued the owners for squeezing him out of the business a few years back. The court then sided with the plaintiff, finding that the Bareburger team did in fact screw their partner over.
Bareburger started in Queens in 2009 and has since grown into a global chain of 40 locations around the U.S., plus some in Dubai. There are about 20 locations in New York, and it’s known for burgers, as well as a menu tailored for vegetarians, vegans, and other people with dietary restrictions.
Eater has reached out to the company for comment.