Having allegedly whipped up a distasteful recipe of unpaid bills, Irish celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher, who recently opened up one of Port Elizabeth’s priciest new restaurants, was forced to close his doors earlier this week after being evicted.
The international chef and owner of Gallagher’s on Stanley in Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, was accused of non-payment last month by several food suppliers in the Bay and was served an eviction order on Monday by his landlords’ lawyers, Minde Schapiro & Smith.
Gallagher allegedly also left a string of unpaid suppliers in his wake when he moved from Cape Town.
When contacted, Gallagher, said: “Not interested, thank you.”
One of the Stanley on Bain building’s landlords, who did not want to be named, put up a handwritten notice on the windows of the former tapas-style restaurant that read: “Cleaved from the herd, prime space to let” – with a number attached. It has since been replaced with a “To Let” sign.
While Gallagher was not present at his restaurant to receive the eviction warrant, locks were changed, restricting entrance to the restaurant, with all the contents and table settings still in place.
Minde Schapiro & Smith director Heinrich Crous declined to comment as legal action against the Michelin-star recipient is under way.
Business owners along the eatery strip were sympathetic towards Gallagher, saying it could have happened to anyone.
A former waiter at Gallagher’s on Stanley, Thimna Calata, 31, of Central, said he had shown up for work every day since Monday in the hope that the restaurant would open.
“We were not usually open on Mondays but Conrad told us that with the festive season approaching we would be working every single day.
“I knew that this was the end of the road for us because all the signs were scraped off the windows and shade umbrellas, and the locks were changed.
“It was not a surprise. I knew it was coming because we all heard the rumours of his past, but I thought maybe we would survive until the end of January,” Calata said.
One of the salad chefs, Nthokosi Hladangana, 22, of Central, who had been working at the restaurant since it opened in August, said he was notified of the closure by his colleagues.
“This is a very bad situation to be in because I trusted the man, but he disappointed me very badly. I have a family to support and rent to pay and now I am just left with uncertainty,” Hladangana said.