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Chef v. landlord: The case of Savory in Malibu

November 16, 2012|By Betty Hallock
  • Paul Shoemaker recently closed his restaurant Savory amid a dispute with his landlord.
Paul Shoemaker recently closed his restaurant Savory amid a dispute with… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Chef Paul Shoemaker earlier this month abruptly shuttered his acclaimed Malibu restaurant, Savory, citing a "long and hard battle" with his landlord, Zan Marquis. Accusations have been flying ever since.

Marquis is owner of the Point Dume Village center where Savory is located, and where Malibu residents have protested the closure of the restaurant and the pending closing of Point Pizza, whose lease Marquis hasn't renewed against the owner's wishes. Marquis also is a co-owner of Savory, or, as Shoemaker puts it, a "putative partner."

After the restaurant's closure, Marquis posted a letter to the community in front of the restaurant, which also was sent to the city of Malibu. Now Shoemaker has lobbed his own letter, sent to Malibu's mayor and City Council. "Zan's letter ... blames me for closing Savory; however, the claim is false."

Marquis said Shoemaker defaulted on rent and told the Malibu Times in an email: “Shoemaker wanted me to invest more money in Savory on top of the $600,000 I had already invested,” Marquis said in an email to the Malibu Times. “But Savory was losing money after two years in business.”

Shoemaker disputes the amount of the investment and says in his letter that Marquis did not fix problems in the building, including worn out plumbing and electrical systems that caused recurring plumbing, sewage and power outages. "Zan ultimately refused to pay many of the costs to repair his building," Shoemaker says, "forcing Savory to bear the expense.

"Zan also meddled extensively in Savory’s business, involving himself in everything
from interior design elements to inventory to staffing to hours of operation. Almost
everything that Zan demanded injured the business. Worse, everything cost money –
money that Zan promised to pay, but never did."

Marquis responded in an email to Shoemaker's letter: "I have read Mr. Shoemaker’s letter.... Regrettably, he has attempted to use the press and local politicians to throw fuel on his business dispute with me and my company.... I intend to pursue this matter in the proper (hopefully private) forum, and wish Mr. Shoemaker well in his new venture."

Shoemaker plans to open a burger bar, Juicy Lucy, at the renovated Figat7th shopping center downtown in December. 

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