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Mike Isabella Is Selling Graffiato in Richmond

The embattled restaurateur says he needs to ‘focus on things closer to home’

Mike Isabella during an appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef Duels. 
Nicole Wilder/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Scandal-plagued restaurateur Mike Isabella is letting go of the Graffiato he opened nearly four years ago in Richmond, Virginia, mapping out plans to sell the satellite location that has been closed pending much-needed repairs.

Isabella, who is still dealing with the fallout from a sexual harassment suit he settled in May, tells Washingtonian that the Graffiato in Richmond is inoperable due to HVAC issues, and that he’s in negotiations with a local restaurant group to take over the space. Since former general manager Chloe Caras accused Isabella and senior members of his restaurant group of sexual harassment, Isabella has had talented chefs leave his organization, he closed the original Requin in Mosaic District — though he allegedly owes over $700,000 in back rent there — and now he’s withdrawing from the Richmond dining scene.

Prior to this rash of legal and professional challenges, Isabella announced that he was returning to the kitchen at his flagship Graffiato in Chinatown. He tells Washingtonian that he’s getting to back to basics there, estimating that he grew “too fast,” and “too big” in recent years.


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