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Maple & Ash Co-Owner Accuses Partner of Stealing $265K From Shared Business Accounts

Also, Chicago chefs feed Ukrainian refugees at Polish border

A moody bar space with green plush chairs.
A court filing this week raises fresh allegations in the partners’s ongoing legal battle.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

A new wrinkle emerged has emerged this week in the legal power struggle among the co-owners of Maple & Ash, the luxurious Gold Coast steakhouse. Co-founder Jim Lasky on Monday filed a document with Cook County circuit court alleging that David Pisor, his partner at hospitality group What If Syndicate, withdrew a total of $265,000 from two bank accounts associated with the business and deposited the money in his personal bank account, according to Crain’s.

The claims come nearly two weeks after the pair met in court regarding a lawsuit filed by Pisor that alleges Lasky has banned him from the group’s restaurants, which also include neighborhood restaurants Etta and Etta River North, as part of a so-called “illegal coup” designed to push him out of the company. The original complaint details allegations that Lasky has threatened to “air Pisor’s ‘dirty laundry’” in relation to “alleged conduct that happened years ago… unless Pisor agreed to accept a below-market buyout from Lasky.”

In the court hearing in early April, Judge Clare Quish denied Pisor’s request for a temporary restraining order that would allow him back inside the restaurants, as well as requests for undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages.

Pisor’s attorney, Lazar Raynal, denied that his client misappropriated the funds in a statement to reporters. The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 29.

Chicago chefs travel to Europe to feed Ukrainian refugees

Three Chicago chefs — Paul Kahan (Publican, One Off Hospitalty), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno), and Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish and Oyster, Boka Restaurant Group) — are in Poland right now volunteering with José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen to prepare meals for Ukrainian refugees at the border. Yesterday the team — which also included the Food Network’s Marc Murphy, Miami chef Karla Hoyos, and actor Liev Schreiber — prepped and served 15,000 meals, Kahan wrote on Instagram. (On his own Instagram post, Priolo posted his personal physical activity stats for the day: 23,921 steps and 14 hours standing.)

Meanwhile, Esteban Burgoa, a real estate agent on the Northwest Side is trying to raise $15,000 to set up his own mobile kitchen to serve refugees in Eastern Europe, WBEZ reports. He has enlisted the help of two cooks and two pastors and has collected an office full of donated supplies, but he still lags in funding. Burgoa, a Mexican immigrant who is married to a Ukrainian woman and who served with the Navy in Iraq, tells WBEZ he was moved to take action after reading reports of Russian atrocities.

Jonathan Zaragoza departs Con Todo

Jonathan Zaragoza has left Con Todo, the Mexican American restaurant that debuted in Logan Square in January. Zaragoza developed the restaurant’s menu, working on the project for the seven months prior to its opening. Even as a consultant, he became the face of the restaurant which is owned by JC and Edgar Castañeda, whose family owns the Lalo’s chain: “Just updating that Con Todo is up and running and I’m no longer involved as I’m working on other projects happening this year,” Zaragoza wrote in an Instagram story last Friday, April 8. Con Todo was one of the winter’s most anticipated restaurants partially because of Zaragoza’s pedigree — his family owns Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights and he previously cooked at El Oso and Masa Azul — and partially because ownership was so stingy about supplying relevant details like the name and location, which only piqued general curiosity.

Mayor gets full Wiener’s Circle roast

Mayor Lori Lightfoot took part in a Chicago ritual last weekend by paying a late-night visit to the Wiener’s Circle, accompanied by her wife Amy Eshleman, where she was duly roasted by the late night crew, who made references to a lawsuit filed last month that alleged that, among other things, Lightfoot had announced in a meeting that “I have the biggest dick in Chicago.” (Lightfoot has denied that she ever said this.) Naturally, video of the encounter was posted on Instagram. “You never know what you’re gonna see at our establishment, and no one is immune from our special style of service, especially those endowed with massive wieners,” the Wiener’s Circle wrote on the accompanying post.

Stan’s Donuts celebrates a bear of very little brain and no pants

Fans of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Show currently playing at the Mercury Theatre in Lakeview can prolong the trip to Pooh Corner by visiting Stan’s Donuts, which has prepared special vanilla cake doughnuts based on characters from the show, according to a rep. Sadly for fans of Eeyore and Piglet, only Pooh and Tigger are represented. This makes sense because Pooh’s major personality trait is his sweet tooth while Tigger’s is his tendency to bounce everywhere, which is what happens to some people after they eat doughnuts. Stan’s Hunny Hunt runs from April 18 through May 1.

In related news, 2D, the whimsically illustrated Lakeview restaurant that happens to sell honey doughnuts, is giving away Winnie the Pooh Show tickets and meal packages. More details are available on Instagram.

A doughnut with orange frosting and chocolate stripes and two ears on top.
A Tigger doughnut that will get you bouncing around all day long.
Stan’s Donuts

Piccolo Sogno

464 North Halsted Street, , IL 60642 (312) 421-0077 Visit Website

Etta River North

700 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60645 312-766-4444 Visit Website

Boka Restaurant Group

820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 238-9896 Visit Website

The Wiener's Circle

2622 North Clark Street, , IL 60614 (773) 477-7444 Visit Website

Con Todo

2853 N. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 773-681-0674 Visit Website

Maple & Ash

8 West Maple Street, , IL 60610 (312) 944-8888 Visit Website


1840 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 757-4444 Visit Website