The owners of Zelko Bistro have gone to court to try to prevent their landlord from locking them out, evicting them, or placing a “for lease” sign in front of the Heights restaurant. In a lawsuit and request for a temporary restraining order filed last Thursday, Zelko claims Papa K LLC failed to honor a 5-year extension written into their lease for the property at 705 E. 11th St., which Zelko first took possession of in 2009 and subsequently spent approximately $600,000 to convert to a restaurant.
According to a copy of the lease included with the petition, Zelko had been paying $5,700 a month in rent, in addition to all property taxes; the term ended on June 30th. Emails between Zelko’s principals and its landlord included in the petition indicate Zelko’s interest in extending the lease in advance of the 90-day-advance-notice deadline, but a few days after that deadline had passed the landlord presented its tenants with a new lease including less favorable terms, including a 50 percent rent increase, according to the suit.
Other details in the court documents shed a bit of light on the goings-on Swamplot noted late last month, when a “for-lease” sign briefly appeared in front of the restaurant, and a broker representing the landlord announced that the restaurant would soon be leaving.
According to the suit, Zelko received a letter from the landlord’s attorney on July 16th demanding the restaurant surrender the property. The restaurant’s chef, Jamie Zelko, later took to social media to announce that Zelko Bistro wasn’t going anywhere, and was busy negotiating a lease extension. After receiving a second letter on July 27th, which stated that the landlord was “no longer interested in being involved in any business transaction with their former tenant” and threatening to begin eviction proceedings, Zelko moved its negotiation attempts to the state courthouse.
- Previously on Swamplot: Zelko Bistro: We’re Not Gone Yet; Zelko Bistro Is Soon To Be Gone from E. 11th St.
Photo: H-Town Chow Down