Ever since white-hot restaurant The Grocery Bistro opened last March a couple of blocks from Harpo Studios, there's been more drama than an episode of Falcon Crest. Sure, it's created a buzz amongst the city's foodies and reservations have been at a premium, but drama nonetheless.
Just last month, Chef Andre Christopher quit in a huff after claiming owner Marcel Somfelian owed him and a couple members of his family thousands of dollars. His parents have been parked outside the restaurant in a very visible protest for the past few weeks.
Earlier this week we've been following reports -- first published by the 312 Dining Diva -- that The Grocery Bistro's landlord handed him an eviction notice due to unpaid bills, and could be shut down as soon as this weekend.
Somfelean denied his business was in trouble, telling bloggers such as grubstreet.com, that he was not served an eviction notice and that business is great.
But on Thursday, The Dining Diva uncovered court documents that showed the restaurant's landlord seeking more than $24,000 from The Grocery Bistro and the other tenants in the building, Kudo Sushi and Mongolian House. A hearing is scheduled for July 28th.
NBCChicago.com reached Somfelian at his restaurant Thursday, and he claimed that the court filing was in regards to unpaid 2008 property taxes from the other tenants, and that he's filed to have his name removed because his restaurant wasn't even there during that time.
He blames Christopher's parents for starting the rumor.
"They've been out there with signs for the last five weeks. They decided the signs didn't work, so they decided to start the rumors that the restaurant will be shut down," Somfelian said.
Somfelian says business is so good, he's looking to open a second location in the city.
So what's the real story? If you're betting smart money, go and try out The Grocery Bistro as soon as you can. You may not get another chance.