Kapnos Kouzina, one of the two remaining restaurants that embattled chef Mike Isabella was fighting to keep open in the wake of a sexual harassment settlement, closed this past weekend after less than three years of business.
A person at Mike Isabella Concepts confirmed to Eater that Saturday, December 22, was the last day of service for the Greek restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland. An Instagram post from the restaurant’s account that day announced the restaurant was closing its doors.
Four days before Kapnos Kouzina shuttered, Washingtonian published a report that said an affiliate of Isabella’s landlord with a majority stake in the restaurant was trying to oust him as manager by filing a motion in bankruptcy court. The motion, Washingtonian reported, claimed that Isabella had refused to share his financial records with the landlord, had fallen behind in rent by $80,000, and had deserted the restaurant.
According to the filing, Isabella left MIC partners George Pagonis and Nick Pagonis to run Kapnos Kouzina even though they were not technically in business with the Bethesda landlord.
Neither Kapnos Kouzina nor Requin (Southwest Waterfront) were mentioned in the Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings for MIC that represented the former Top Chef star’s fall from grace following a harassment lawsuit brought by former manager Chloe Caras. The Pagonis brothers were also named in that suit.
According to court filings, Isabella’s landlord at the Wharf development is trying to evict Requin because of unpaid rent. On Christmas Eve, signs posted to the doors at Requin said the restaurant was closed for the holidays but planned to re-open this week.
According to a Chapter 7 filing earlier this month, all the MIC restaurants planned to close by Dec. 27 so they could take advantage of the busy holiday season. Eater reported that four of those restaurants closed early.
Isabella spokesperson Edward Segal told Eater at the time that Kapnos Kouzina and Requin would “stay open as long as possible.”
When reached today, Segal had no immediate response to offer Eater on the latest closure.