Da Francesco's, the group that for five months operated the organic Italian restaurant of the same name in Palm Beach, was denied an injunction last week against 251 Partners that would have seen them take back control of their restaurant.
The order came down by way of Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge David Crow, who concluded that although da Francesco's has an excellent case against 251 Partners, an injunction allowing them to take back the restaurant would be unnecessary since other means of compensation are sufficient.
In other words, da Francesco's will likely take 251 to the cleaners. But the restaurant is still 251's for the moment.
The whole business started in April when 251 Partners, tennants of
the converted Palm Beach Hotel, entered into a joint venture agreement
with da Francesco's who would run a restaurant in their space as a way
to skirt restrictions on nightclubs in Palm Beach. This way, da
Francesco would dish up the organic grub, and when the lights go down,
251 Partners would get to play in their shiny new disco. Everyone was
happy -- until the Town of Palm Beach warned in August that operating
two businesses under one roof was against the law.
failed buy out of da Francesco's, 251 Partners decided to simply help
itself to the restaurant's property and employees. They changed the
locks and called the police to keep the excized restaurateurs from
entering the building.
Though da Francesco's won't likely see
their restaurant back, another result of the hearing is 251 will not be
able to use any of the restaurant's intellectual property. The
restaurant name has already been changed to "the Restaurant at 251,"
and a new menu is currently in the works.
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Even so, the ruling
doesn't bode well for 251 Partners. It will likely face a very long and
costly lawsuit which will be difficult to recover from. Not a great way
to start off your business.