Small Bites: Lawsuit Seeks To Invalidate NDAs Signed by Mike Isabella Restaurant Employees

Small Bites: Lawsuit Seeks To Invalidate NDAs Signed by Mike Isabella Restaurant Employees

Plus: New location for Bethesda's Duck Duck Goose; Summer House Hosts Taste of Lettuce

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Celebrity chef Mike Isabella owns Kapnos Kouzina and other restaurants in D.C. and Virginia.


Three weeks after a former top manager for Mike Isabella’s restaurant group filed a lawsuit claiming the restaurateur and his business partners repeatedly sexually harassed her, the manager’s attorneys filed an expanded lawsuit asking a federal court to invalidate the nondisclosure agreements that she and other employees had to sign.

If judges agree, it could open the door for other employees of Mike Isabella Concepts to speak out about their time working for the company. The restaurant group owns Kapnos Kouzina in downtown Bethesda, among others in the area.

Chloe Caras, who filed the lawsuit, claims Isabella and his partners would talk about her body, touch her without permission and casually use sexist language in the workplace.

The lawsuit claims all employees are required as a condition of employment to sign an NDA that says they would be charged a $500,000 fee for each time they share confidential information about “details of the personal and business lives of Mike Isabella, his family members, friends, business associates and dealings,” according to the filing.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Isabella said the NDAs were implemented to stop employees from leaking news about restaurant openings to the press and were “never used to intimidate employees.”

Duck Duck Goose expands to Baltimore

Bethesda restaurant Duck Duck Goose will open a new restaurant in Baltimore before summer arrives.

Like the Bethesda location, the new restaurant, opening at 814 South Broadway in Fells Point, will also offer a French-inspired menu with seasonal items and dishes from chef and owner Ashish Alfred. The Baltimore eatery also will have front and rear outdoor patios and a large central bar.

In addition to Duck Duck Goose, which was named Maryland’s best restaurant in Southern Living magazine, Alfred also owns George’s Chophouse, which opened in downtown Bethesda last year.

Lia’s owner challenges happy hour advertising restrictions in Virginia

Chef Geoff Tracy says he has no trouble marketing “Wine down Wednesdays” and “$5 margaritas” at his Chevy Chase restaurant Lia’s and Chef Geoff’s in D.C. But Virginia laws restrict him from similar advertising at his Tyson’s restaurant, WTOP reports.

Tracy filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for forbidding the listing of prices on happy hour advertisements, or listing specials as “two for one.”

“It’s just kind of a weird limitation on free speech or creative advertising speech that doesn’t make any sense,” Tracy told WTOP.

Taste of Lettuce returns this month

Summer House Santa Monica in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose is hosting Taste of Lettuce on April 17, which showcases meals from seven restaurants in the Lettuce Entertain You group. The five-course meal includes endive and pearl salad from Mon Ami Gabi, short rib ravioli from RPM Italian and Campbell River salmon from Summer House.

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