Make us your home page

Three Birds owners sue former chef in contract dispute

ST. PETERSBURG — Three Birds Tavern owners Robin and Jack King filed a lawsuit against their former chef Domenica Macchia this week in Pinellas County. The Kings have claimed their former chef, who departed in October to become the chef at Beak's Old Florida, is in breach of contract.

Macchia previously served as chef at Redwoods, MJ's, Diner 437 and Shackleton's Folly, all in St. Petersburg, before taking a job in March 2011 at Three Birds, 1492 Fourth St. N, overhauling the menu and bringing her comfort food vision to the pub that was once Limey's. According to the Kings, Macchia signed a non-compete clause that forbids her from working at competing restaurants in Pinellas County through 2014.

In her move to Beak's, Macchia joined forces with another former employer, Dan Soronen, who is also named in the Kings' suit. Formerly the owner of the Old Northeast Tavern, Shackleton's Folly and Brewburgers, all in St. Petersburg, Soronen took over Beak's in October, buying the bar/restaurant at 2451 Central Ave. from original owner Jamie Farquharson. Despite a falling out at Shackleton's Folly, Soronen hired Macchia and charged her with "revamping the whole menu."

After a renovation and relaunch in November, Macchia has slowly changed the short list of offerings. Last week Creative Loafing wrote a favorable review of the restaurant, which Soronen insists was a galvanizing force for the filing of the suit.

"The lawsuit says I hired (Macchia) for credibility. It mentions my bankruptcy. It's a slander campaign to hurt me," says Soronen, adding wryly, "I do enough to ruin my own reputation."

The Kings could not be reached for comment on the suit, filed on Wednesday.

Laura Reiley can be reached at or (727) 892-2293.

Three Birds owners sue former chef in contract dispute 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 11:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PHSC Performing Arts Series harkens back to times past

    Music & Concerts

    It's a blast from the past for the 2017-18 Performing Arts Series at Pasco-Hernando State College in New Port Richey. Season tickets go on sale Sept. 26, with single-show tickets on sale Oct. 10. The first performance is Dec. 1.

  2. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?


    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.
  3. Directors of Haunted Mansion doc talk bringing piece of Disney history to Orlando


    Filmmakers Ryan Grulich and James H. Carter II aren't just casual fans of The Haunted Mansion ride. They're obsessed.

    Publicity still from the Foolish Mortals documentary.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 20


    Mumford and Sons: The enormously popular English rockers make their first stop in Tampa. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$61.25. (813) 301-2500.

    MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 13:  Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons performs on the "What" stage during the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
  5. How to vamp out for Buffyfest in St. Petersburg

    Music & Concerts

    Who's your favorite superhero? I always answer Buffy.