Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals have removed the three embedded eateries associated with Top Chef alum Mike Isabella from Nationals Park following allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee of his hospitality group, Mike Isabella Concepts (MIC).
Chloe Caras, a former manager at newly opened Tysons food hall Isabella Eatery, recently filed a lawsuit against Isabella and several of his business partners accusing the group of repeatedly sexually harassing her and creating a hostile work environment. Isabella, through his legal team, has denied the allegations.
“Due to the allegations that came to light this week, we have decided to end our partnership with Mike Isabella,” the Nationals said in a statement to the Washington Post. Eater reached out to the Nationals press office for additional comment but has not heard back.
In a statement sent to Eater, Isabella again denied any wrongdoing.
“We are disappointed that our partnership with the Nationals is currently suspended because of these false allegations, but I hope once the full story has been told, and my name cleared, that we will get the privilege to serve Nationals fans in our great community again,” Isabella said, adding that “hundreds” of female employees who work for MIC continue to support him. “MIC is more than a restaurant group; we are a family, and we will get through this difficult time together and be stronger because of it.”
The Washington Post reports that Isabella’s Catchfly, G Sandwich, and Kapnos at the Park have already been removed from the roster of dining options presented to attendees on game days. The team has not announced what will replace the suddenly shuttered food stands; its annual media tour is scheduled for Monday, March 26.
Isabella’s ballpark outposts are just one of several partnerships he has with other corporate entities around the area, including:
- Spanish-Moorish restaurant Arroz is located in the Marriott Marquis hotel opposite the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. A spokesman for Marriott International told Eater “it would be inappropriate to comment” on Isabella’s situation beyond the hotel.
- Isabella Eatery is spread out over much of the top floor at high-end shopping mall Tysons Galleria. Eater reached out to management company GGP about the arrangement but has not heard back.
- A Kapnos Taverna is built into the Hotel at the University of Maryland, a new arrival from Southern Management Corporation. Eater reached out to Southern Management Corporation about the arrangement but has not heard back.
- A Kapnos Taverna is included in the hospitality offerings at Reagan National Airport. A spokeswoman for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority sent Eater the following statement: “We take these allegations very serious and are monitoring the story and developments closely. The Kapnos Taverna restaurant at DCA is not owned by Mr. Isabella, but is operated under a separate licensing agreement.”
- Newly opened Requin is the lone standalone restaurant within the initial phase of the newly renovated Wharf complex. Eater reached out to Wharf developers PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette about the arrangement but has not heard back.
Eater will continue tracking this story as it develops.