A food fight is breaking out at the Gramercy Park Hotel. At least it would if Danny Meyer could get into his restaurant there.
Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group has sued Solil Management for refusing access to Maialino at the ground floor of the hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue.
The once-bustling eatery has been caught in a battle between two prominent landlords. The case traces back to 2003, when Aby Rosen’s RFR Holdings took over the hotel. Rosen’s landlord was Solil, which owned the ground below it.
In 2009, Meyer signed a lease with Rosen’s group to rent the restaurant space in the hotel. Maialino was humming along until the pandemic hit, at which point Rosen closed the hotel it was in and stopped paying rent.
As Rosen fell nearly $1 million behind, Solil Management sued in April 2021 to terminate the hotel’s lease and collect the $79.5 million Solil said it was due under the long-term deal.
That legal battle ended this June, when Solil won the case and the sheriff booted Rosen from the closed hotel, where Solil alleged the iconoclastic developer had let his mother stay for free (which he denied).
Meyer, though, remained locked out of Maialino.
His restaurant group claims it cannot get access to its expansive wine and liquor collection, valuable artwork, high-end kitchen equipment, dining room and bar furniture, china, glassware and silverware.
Meyer’s frustration turned to panic when Solil began selling the hotel’s stuff to the public. Though a property manager assured him the restaurant’s possessions would not be liquidated as well, Meyer’s suit claims the promise was reversed when Solil asserted in an Oct. 3 letter that the restaurant had “abandoned” the property.
Meyer’s restaurant group is suing Solil for three causes of action, each for nearly $2 million.
Lawyers for the defendant declined to comment. Solil did not immediately respond to requests for comment.