The famous Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn, which nabbed the number four spot on our 101 Best Pizzas in America list, is locked in a complicated legal battle between current owners and ousted co-founder Chris Parachini. Parachini was fired during talks of expansion and buyout negotiations in December, the New York Post reported. After the fallout, Parachini allegedly showed up to the restaurant and began ordering staff around as if he was still co-owner. Police were called, but refused to intervene. Owners Brandon Hoy and Carlo Mirarchi will be meeting Parachini in court on April 9.
Here’s the breakdown of the drama between the former colleagues who brought you one of New York’s best pizza spots. Roberta’s was in talks of expansion and a buyout agreement in December, when Parachini refused to accept the $2 million offer for his share of the company. Allegedly, he demanded $2.9 million for the original Roberta’s, plus $2.5 million for intellectual property and the various spinoffs, including a restaurant in the Rockaways.
According to the lawsuit, all three parties had also been in talks to open restaurants in Asia and a restaurant in the as yet unopened ACE Hotel to be located on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. Parachini had allegedly already been absent for the restaurant for months when he was then ousted because an agreement could not be reached, according to the lawsuit filed by Mirachi and Hoy.
"On December 5...negotiations apparently broke down, and Parachini wrote Mirarchi and Hoy on December 16 'in an effort to resume discussion,' the lawsuit says. "In that writing, Parachini noted that he 'had rejected the deal' that day, wished to discuss the matter without their attorneys, and stated that he intended to call for a shareholder meeting to address corporate governance as well as other things. Id. The next day, on December 17, the Helbraun Firm sent Parachini a formal letter on behalf of the Corporation, terminating Parachini for cause, informing him that he no longer is a shareholder or an employee pursuant to the shareholder agreement."
“Our worst fears became a reality on Dec. 22, 2014, when Parachini appeared at the restaurant and began telling staff he was the ‘boss’ and ‘owner’ and they had to listen to him,” Hoy wrote in an affidavit, which has been republished in The New York Post. “We are concerned that this will end in a physical altercation before the police will take any action, based on the prior history with Mr. Parachini and his erratic behavior.”An emergency court order was approved by a judge soon after the incident, during which time Hoy and Mirachi filed the lawsuit. The judge also demanded that Parachini be paid a salary during the time of the lawsuit. The Daily Meal has reached out to Hoy, Mirachi, Parachini, and Roberta's Pizza's publishers for more information, but has not yet received a response.
“I have no history of violence nor have I ever threatened any of my partners or employees. This is a total fabrication… presented to inflame the court,” Parachini said in a written statement, according to the New York Post.
In April, the estranged pizza moguls will meet in court, and 15 employees from Roberta’s will allegedly be testifying against Parachini.