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Ex-Embeya Chef Sues Restaurant Owner, Claims Fiscal Improprieties

Time hasn't soothed matters between Thai Dang and Attila Gyulai

Jason Little
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

A year after Thai Dang's departure from Embeya, Dang and his brother are suing the majority owner of the West Loop restaurant claiming breach of contract. Thai and partner Kenny Dang filed the lawsuit on March 2 in Cook County circuit court, according to Crain's. Besides breach of contract, the Dangs allege Embeya owner Attila Gyulai of making more than $200,000 of unauthorized payments to himself, while prohibiting the Dangs from seeing financial records.

The lawsuit represents the escalation of a feud between Thai Dang, a chef/investor at Embeya, and Gyulai. Dang claimed Gyulai fired him in March 2015, and he and his brother are seeking about $200,000 in damages as a result. Crain's also reports another active lawsuit filed by Thai Dang against Gyulai in October. In that case, Dang alleges Gyulai and Embeya's holding company of underpaying the chef over the course of two years.

Crain's didn't get a hold of the Dangs or Gyulai for comment. Gyulai hired Mike Sheerin as Dang's replacement in April 2015. Meanwhile, Thai Dang and his wife, Danielle (Embeya's former beverage director), have plans for a new restaurant called HaiSous.


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