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Fading Dean & DeLuca Chain Faces $29M Lawsuit From Meatpacking District Landlord

Dean & DeLuca’s Meatpacking cafe Stage restaurant lasted only three months

Stage Julian Faulhaber for Dean & De Luca STAGE by Ole Scheeren © Buro-OS [Official Photo]

Beleaguered gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca was hit with a $29 million lawsuit from its failed Meatpacking District restaurant landlord, according to the Commercial Observer.

The short-lived, cafeteria-like restaurant dubbed Stage opened in April but closed three months later, following reports that the company was struggling financially and not paying its vendors. Now Midtown Equities, which owns the space at 29 Ninth Avenue, near 13th Street, is suing the grocer’s parent company Pace Development for two months of unpaid rent, late fees, and other costs.

Dean & DeLuca allegedly never paid about $225,000 for rent in June and another $302,000 for July — and incurred about $36,000 in late fees for both months, according to the Commercial Observer. But the landlord is suing for millions more: Midtown Equities is seeking $10 million against CEO Sorapoj Techakraisri as the property’s guarantor and a $9 million lease termination fee, in addition to other costs like mechanics’ liens and plumbing.

Eater has reached out to Midtown Equities’s lawyer and Pace Development for more information.

The Stage concept was dreamt up three years ago when Asian-themed clubstaurant Spice Market exited the Meatpacking space. It opened this year as a fancy cafeteria-like restaurant centered around an open kitchen, serving mostly made-to-order sandwiches and bowls. But it abruptly closed in July along with Dean & DeLuca’s Upper East Side market, one in Napa Valley, and one in D.C.

The lawsuit is another financial blow for the New York-born grocer, which has already closed most of its U.S. stores. It’s a bleak scene at the chain’s remaining flagship store in Soho, which is still open despite its shelves being mostly empty. The store claims it’s undergoing renovations.

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