The demise of Park Tavern, which was one of the bigger restaurant-closure stories of recent months, looks like it could potentially take other dominoes with it, as owner Anna Weinberg faces a major financial judgment against her from a former business partner.
As SFist noted in discussing the permanent closure of Park Tavern last week, the restaurant's woes of recent years included a struggle for control with a former partner, whom Weinberg ostensibly bought out in 2021 before a major renovation occurred. But as the SF Business Times now details, following a new legal filing, that partner, David Stanton, sued Weinberg in January 2023 over an unpaid sum in that buyout agreement. And after ruling against Weinberg in October, the court reportedly issued two writs of execution last Friday allowing sheriffs to begin seizing personal property and bank accounts in SF and Marin County.
This doesn't bode well for Weinberg's remaining businesses, the esteemed Tosca Cafe, and the seven-year-old Leo's Oyster Bar. Other businesses that were part of the restaurant group she co-founded with ex-husband James Nicholas, Marlowe, The Cavalier, and Marianne's, would not be affected as she is no longer affiliated with the restaurant group.
Per the Business Times, which reviewed the court documents in the suit by Stanton, Weinberg put both Leo's and Tosca, along with Park Tavern, up as collateral in the buyout agreement — pledging to pay Stanton upwards of $900,000 for his shares in the companies that own Park Tavern, Tosca, and Leo's. But, according to the documents, Weinberg allegedly only paid $185,000, and Stanton has been seeking $725,000 plus interest, or $800,000.
The remaining partnership splits, like the one controlling Tosca, are not public knowledge, and it is unclear how the legal judgment would affect it or the business that controls Leo's. Tosca, which reopened in 2013 following a renovation by New York restaurateurs April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, closed in 2019 after fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against Friedman. Weinberg and Nicholas partnered with Stanton — and possibly others — to reopen Tosca in 2020, with consulting chef Nancy Oakes.
Weinberg has not commented on the situation since the first eviction notice appeared on Park Tavern's door in late October/early November. At that point, Weinberg said that negotiations with Park Tavern's landlord were ongoing, but that eviction notice was seeking $522,000 in back rent and damages.
Park Tavern has reportedly been cleared of furniture, and is seeking a new lessee.
A talented and prolific restaurateur, Weinberg and Big Night Restaurant Group at one point had seven restaurants in SF, including the now shuttered Petit Marlowe and Cow Marlowe.