Hometown hero (at least in the food world) Danny Bowien and his partners in the New York City location of Mission Chinese Food are suing their landlord for creating and failing to rectify health hazards in the building that formerly housed their restaurant. The suit, which was filed July 31 in Manhattan Superior Court, is asking landlord Abraham Noy for $500,000 in damages for lost profits, as well as "immeasurable harm to their reputations and brand."
Mission Chinese Food opened in San Francisco in 2010 to immediate buzz and hundreds of hip kids beating a path to their door every night. Bowien's magic formula of Chinese technique and ingredients with modern and decidedly non-Chinese twists (Kung Pao pastrami) was a winner, and ultimately it won him the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef in 2013, as well as being named one of the country's Best New Chefs by Food & Wine magazine. Bowien's bigger fame came when he opened a second Mission Chinese Food location at 154 Orchard Street on New York's Lower East Side in 2012, and the huge acclaim the restaurant got there helped lead to these national honors.
But then, last fall, Mission Chinese's NY location was shut down twice by the Health Department due to a "significant" mouse problem that they could not seem to control, as DNA Info reports.
According to the suit, Noy "flatly refused to rectify the situation" and Mission Chinese's own hired exterminators found that the mouse problem stemmed from a "cesspool" of sludge and mouse corpses in a locked storage room that they were unable to access during most of their tenancy. After closing for a second time in November, the team decided to shut down for good, and ever since they've been battling with Noy over their security deposit, and trying to get out of their lease. This lawsuit appears aimed to solve that.
Since the closure, Bowien, who's been living full-time in New York since late 2012, has been doing Mission Chinese pop-ups and also tending to his other New York business, Mission Cantina. Meanwhile, the guy who's been manning the stoves at the flagship Mission Chinese Food in S.F., Jesse Koide, is leaving to start his own thing called Pink Zebra, as noted last week.