In the wake of the pending closing of Mike Isabella Concepts restaurant group, the chef’s downtown Bethesda Greek-themed Kapnos Kouzina is expected to remain open, a manager said Thursday.
Earlier this week, Isabella’s company filed a plan in federal bankruptcy court to liquidate – or shut down – following a Chapter 11 reorganization plan submitted in September, according to published reports.
The Bethesda restaurant wasn’t affected by Isabella’s initial filing in September.
The Washingtonian magazine on Wednesday first reported the Chapter 7 filing that would include 10 of Isabella’s 12 restaurants: Kapnos, G, Arroz, Pepita, Yona, Kapnos Taverna in Arlington, Kapnos Taverna College Park, Requin Brasserie in Mosaic District and Isabella Eatery. Kapnos Kouzina and Requin at the Wharf were not included.
A sexual harassment lawsuit against Isabella and partners, filed by a former employee in March, started what has been described as a swift decline in the fortunes of Isabella, who was named Restaurateur of the Year for 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
In November, a Washingtonian report raised the question of whether the celebrity chef was being pushed to the side by his business partners.
“Under the present circumstances, I am facing the sad realization that I no longer believe that any restaurant associated with my name can recover from the negative press that has enveloped me for nearly the entirety of 2018,” Isabella said in Wednesday’s filing, according to an account post Thursday on the Washington Post website.
Kapnos Kouzina was Isabella’s first Greek-style restaurant in Maryland, debuting in the winter 2015. At its height, the group had a dozen restaurants in the Washington area and Richmond, Virginia.
The latest bankruptcy court filing indicates most restaurants could close by the end of December, according to published accounts.
The manager at the Bethesda location, who declined to give his full name, said the restaurant is still operational and would be for the foreseeable future.
Isabella’s notoriety started to soar when he was named The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic by Food & Wine magazine in 2012, the same year his “Crazy Good Italian” cookbook debuted, according to the chef’s biography.
Isabella spent three years as executive chef of José Andrés’ Zaytinya in Washington before starting his own venture.
Isabella could not be reached for comment Thursday morning and a publicist and attorney have not responded to requests for comment.
This story will be updated.