(Update) Fat City just heard from Jack Gage American Tavern owner Blair Hurst, who insists that despite the legal troubles facing the restaurant, the midtown pub is not closing. Read more after the original Fat City post.
Jack Gage American Tavern, the upscale neighborhood pub at 5030 Main, is in trouble.
According to court records, the owners of the restaurant -- Blair and Russ Hurst -- have filed for bankruptcy. And a recent court ruling looks to clear the way for the restaurant's landlord to give it the boot.
The Hursts were in a similar pickle last year: they closed down their Baja 600 Mexican Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza in August after falling behind on rent owed to their landlord, Highwoods Properties.
Jack Gage, which opened in 2009, filed for bankruptcy on December 9, 2010, federal court records show. The company owes more than $200,000 in unpaid rent, landlord Michael Nigro claims in court filings. A judge ruled last week that Nigro could attempt to void the restaurant's lease.
So is the restaurant going to stay open? Owner Blair Hurst did not return phone calls for this story. Manager Joe Wilcox wouldn't comment on the record, but Richard McPeake, the restaurant's executive chef, told me that "business is great, and we're going strong."
McPeake says that on Thursday night, the restaurant will have all the TV monitors in the bar and dining room tuned to KCPT Channel 19 for the airing of the locally produced Check, Please program, which has Kansas City residents commenting on area restaurants. In fact, Jack Gage American Tavern is one of that night's featured restaurants -- for now, anyway.
Update: Blair Hurst tells Fat City that Jack Gage American Tavern is not closing. "We are absolutely staying open. In fact, we have events and parties booked through the rest of the year."
The legal wrangling with his landlord, Michael Nigro, started even before Jack Gage American Tavern opened in 2009, Hurst says: "There were construction issues before we opened our doors. Legally, this had impact on all the various parties. What we're trying to do right now is to get all this resolved and move ahead."
"The restaurant is doing very well, and we're very pleased with business -- despite the weather. We've got a lot of things scheduled, and we're ready to introduce our new menu in two weeks."