Words continue to fly back and forth over Paul Shoemaker's recent departure from Malibu, following the shutter of the chef's restaurant, Savory, last week. The Malibu Times notes the growing consternation local businesses have around the seaside city regarding exorbitant shopping center rents affordable only to the kind of big-name brands that rarely attract local dollars. Shoemaker, who was expected to take part in a City Council meeting discussing protections for small businesses last night, was one of three restaurants that vacated Point Dume Village in the last few weeks, leading in part to a confrontation last Friday where 30 Malibu residents and activists confronted the property manager and accused owner Zan Marquis of bullying businesses with his lease negotiation tactics.
Shoemaker tells the paper his partnership with Marquis made it impossible to operate. "I was forced to expand my business too fast," he says, "The landlord pushed me to obtain a full liquor license, build out a patio, install outdoor heaters." The chef says his rent went up "a lot every month," and describes Marquis' attitude as, "‘Raise your prices’...‘Charge more money, [customers] can spend it.'"
For his part, Marquis maintains that he initially invested $600,000 in the restaurant and says it was losing money "after two years in business."
The article repeats claims that Shoemaker didn't pay his $15,000 November rent, leading to last week's fall-out, accusations the chef told Grub Street are "absolutely false." Someone on Shoemaker's side also says Marquis is lying about the $600,000 investment the Savory co-owner put in to the restaurant.
Marquis claims that several other local businesses are currently applying to take over some of the spaces that vacated in Point Dume Plaza, while Shoemaker is turning his attentions to two more restaurant projects he has in the works.
Savory shutters after dispute with landlord [Malibu Times]