Food Fight

Landry's sues new seafood restaurant in non-compete feud, putting "stylish" spot in doubt

Landry's sues new seafood restaurant in non-compete feud

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
Photo courtesy of Landry’s, Inc. Signature Group

The much-anticipated opening of Mr. Peeples Seafood + Steaks at 1911 Bagby in Midtown has been delayed time and time again. And after tweeting about its final touches in early March, it seems the spot has another setback. 

Houston-based restaurant and entertainment giant Landry's Inc. filed suit on March 26 against the restaurant, its owner, Landmark Houston Hospitality Group LLC (which also runs 51fifteen and Hearsay Gastro Lounge), and Tim Kohler, a former general manager at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse (a Landry's establishment).

The lawsuit — first reported by Houston Business Journal — alleges Kohler, who was fired from Vic & Anthony's last August for "performance-related reasons," had signed a nondisclosure and noncompetition agreement during his 10 years with the company, which it argues he's now breaking.

Upon securing a new general manager post with Mr. Peeples, Kohler allegedly solicited former Vic & Anthony's sales manager Stacy Chambers to work for the up-and-coming seafood and steakhouse, as well.

"While we do not fully understand the allegations against our organization, it appears related to prior agreements between our new general manager Mr. Timothy Kohler and his previous employer Vic & Anthony's. We were not a party to those agreements and because we only recently learned of the potential existence of these agreements we have not had the opportunity to fully evaluate them," a Landmark representative told HBJ in a written statement. 

Moreover, Landmark doesn't see the two steakhouses as competitors. "Mr. Peeples is a stylish, high energy, and vibrant alternative to the traditional steakhouse concept," the company told the Houston Chronicle. "We believe there is room and a need for both concepts in the growing Houston market."