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Lawsuits fly between LI mall and restaurant that never opened | Long Island Business News

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Banners on fencing around the outside of a restaurant space at Walt Whitman Shops proclaim that Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue is coming soon, but that plan is now smoked after a beef between the mall’s owner and the tenant has landed in court. 

Walt Whitman Mall LLC, an affiliate of Indianapolis-based mall owner Simon Property Group, filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County Monday against Fat Bones LLC, which does business as Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue and Tiny’s Cantina, for more than $381,000 in back rent and to take back possession of the 6,376-square-foot space. 

Photo by Christopher Appoldt

Fat Bones LLC is owned by Manhattan restaurateur Peter Glazier, his wife Penny and his son Matthew. The Glaziers have owned several New York City restaurants, including Michael Jordan’s The Steak House, Strip House, Monkey Bar and others. 

The Walt Whitman suit claims that Fat Bones LLC signed a 10-year lease in Oct. 2021 for the space, formerly occupied by Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar, which closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and the acai bowl franchise Bango Bowls. According to the lease, the company was to use the space and an outdoor patio at the Huntington Station mall for a Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue bar and restaurant and a fast-casual restaurant called Tiny’s Cantina, which were to open by a required completion date of Oct. 29, 2022, the same time that rent was to begin. 

The tenant was to pay monthly installments totaling $143,460 in rent for the first year and $286,290 annually for the second through fifth years, according to the lease. If the restaurant failed to open by 90 days after the required opening date, the tenant would have to pay an additional 25 percent of the daily rent for each day it wasn’t yet open, the lawsuit states. 

Photo by Christopher Appoldt

The mall management claims that the tenant has not done any work on the space for several months and “has given no indication that it ever intends to complete such work,” adding that the “premises has sat idle for several months.” 

Besides seeking damages of at least $381,210, the mall is demanding to take back the space on June 20, according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit filed by the mall comes a week after the restaurant owners filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against Simon Property Group and two of its malls, Walt Whitman Shops and King of Prussia Mall, for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, willful misrepresentation and civil conspiracy. That lawsuit, which is seeking punitive damages, was filed nearly a month after Walt Whitman Mall LLC sent an April 16 letter to Fat Bones LLC demanding payment of $351,322 in back rent for the Walt Whitman Shops restaurant space. 

The Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue restaurant at King of Prussia Mall “has been closed for at least a month,” according to a person in the mall’s management office, who wouldn’t say why it was shuttered. 

Valley Stream-based attorney Roslyn Maldonado, who represents Fat Bones LLC and filed the lawsuit against Simon and its two malls, said via email: “At this time, my client has no comment.” 

Attorney Michael O’Donnell of the Manhattan-based Riker Danzig law firm, who represents Walt Whitman Mall LLC and filed the lawsuit against the restaurant tenant, has not responded to requests for comment. 

A spokesperson for Simon Property Group has also not responded to a request for comment. 

The original location for Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue, which bills itself as a Texas-style BBQ eatery, is on Flatbush Avenue in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn and is still in operation. Tiny’s Cantina, a Mexican-style restaurant and bar, operates in a Flatbush Avenue location down the street from Morgan’s.  

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