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Mike Isabella Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The chef tells the Post: “We want to stop the bleeding”

Chef Mike Isabella competing on Top Chef.
Nicole Wilder/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

Top Chef alum and restaurateur Mike Isabella filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today in federal court, the Washington Post reports. This is the latest development in Mike Isabella Concepts’ recent business struggles, as Chinatown restaurant Graffiato and his massive food hall at Tysons Galleria both closed over the summer and he’s reportedly trying to work on a payment plan with the landlord of his College Park restaurant Kapnos Taverna.

“Obviously, there’s a little bleeding going on. We want to stop the bleeding,” Isabella told the Post. The bankruptcy filing suspends any eviction processes, and Isabella told the paper that his two best performing restaurants — Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda and Requin at the Wharf — are not part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

“The bankruptcy is a tool for me to basically restructure my finances and have an opportunity for a fresh start,” Isabella said.

The chef isn’t allowed to discuss the lawsuit against his restaurant group, which alleged that Isabella and and other company leaders sexually harassed former employee Chloe Caras. The parties reached a confidential settlement in May. Instead, he told the Post:

In Washington, D.C., March, April and May are your three busiest months of the year. Unfortunately, I had some negative press toward me. I lost a lot of that business that carries me through the summer, in all my restaurants. With that being said, I went into a slow season, a slow summer.

Isabella discussed the bankruptcy filing with Washingtonian, saying: “Hopefully by spring everything should be back to normal again.”

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