Make us your home page
Instagram

Trouble brewing at CopperFish over city fines, unpaid rent

TAMPA — A suit filed this week in Tampa may cause a ripple of fear among local foodies: South Tampa's CopperFish, one of the most exciting debuts of 2013, has hit a rocky patch.

The plaintiff, Howard Park Properties, alleges that CopperFish has failed to pay rent since June.

The connections between the landlord and tenant are snarly, though. Gordon Davis is the president of Howard Park and owner of the building, but he's also partners with Kevin Enderle, brothers Chas Bruck and Kyle Bruck and Michael Blesser in SoHo Hospitality Management Group, which oversees Boca, Ciro's, the new Bizou Brasserie in Le Meridien hotel and CopperFish (Samba Room Tampa LLC is an additional limited liability company for the CopperFish location).

Davis attributes much of the current disagreement to the financial burdens of ongoing battles with the city, at one point owing more than $150,000 in fines.

"The zoning issues have been so expensive it's really been a divisive issue with the partners. It's about to destroy our company. We ran into problems with the Architecture Review Commission, which regulates design in old Hyde Park. We have $70,000 just in legal fees so far. Everybody thinks restaurants are so loaded, but it's a marginal business."

Enderle, president of SoHo Hospitality Management Group, insists the restaurant is zoning compliant at this time and that a previous valet parking issue has been resolved with the city.

"We're behind on rent, and we agreed to forego rent for the summer because it's slow. We're still working on the stuff (the city) had left on their list. But we're doing well, poised for growth and opening new properties in Orlando."

Does this dispute between partners, one of whom is the landlord, signal that CopperFish might go belly up?

"They're just behind in rent," said Davis. I don't think it's going to close. I anticipate it's going to get worked out. If we have to take the property back over, then we will."

Davis owned the French country Le Bordeaux at this location for 15 years, before it became the West Indies-inspired St. Bart's Island House, then a period as Ceviche and a short chapter as Samba Room before becoming CopperFish last May.

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Trouble brewing at CopperFish over city fines, unpaid rent 08/28/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  2. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  3. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  4. ReliaQuest opens storefront in mock city of JA Biztown

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown. The storefront is part of a mock city where students learn economic concepts and run businesses. About 20 real-life Tampa Bay companies sponsor storefronts that local students get to run for a day as part of a …

    ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown, a mock city where students learn to run businesses. | [MALENA CAROLLO, Times]
  5. Love My Dog owner promises to treat dogs like her own

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Lots of folks daydream about quitting their jobs to play with dogs, but shortly after moving to Florida 15 years ago, Natalie Conner actually did it.

    Some happy customers at the grand opening of Love My Dog Pet Resort’s third location in South Tampa on Oct. 14.