One of Toledo's premier restaurant locations is empty again.
The owners of Admiral's American Grill at The Docks complex in East Toledo closed their casual dining restaurant Sunday at the end of business.
Co-owner Mike McKarus said an ongoing dispute with the restaurant’s landlord over utilities led to the decision to close.
"Due to a breach of contract by our landlord … we had no choice but to close our doors," Mr. McKarus said.
The Docks restaurant complex is owned by Dashing Pacific Group Ltd., which purchased the property from the city of Toledo last year for $2.15 million.
Admiral’s opened in April, 2011, after parent company Docks Venture LLC signed a 25-year lease for the three spaces at The Docks previously operated by restaurateur Tom Cousino.
Docks Venture ran Admiral’s (in what was formerly the Navy Bistro) and the adjacent banquet facility. They subleased the third, smaller spot to Mexican restaurant chain El Vaquero.
In January, Docks Venture filed a lawsuit against Dashing Pacific, alleging Dashing Pacific had not fulfilled a portion of the lease that required it to install separate utility meters for the two restaurants.
At that time, Mr. McKarus and others associated with Docks Venture said there were not separate electricity meters for Admiral’s and El Vaquero, and that other utility lines were intertwined. They said the problem was creating a financial hardship.
Dashing Pacific rejected the lawsuit. The suit is still pending.
"It’s gone absolutely nowhere," Mr. McKarus said Monday. "We’re nowhere closer now than we were a year ago. I can’t say much more because there is a pending lawsuit against them.”
The attorney representing Dashing Pacific in the matter could not be reached Monday.
Mr. McKarus said Docks Venture wasn’t in danger of going into bankruptcy, but was no longer in a position to continue operating the restaurant.
“We’re not doing bankruptcy," he said. "I’m paying everybody and I may not be able to do that much longer. My employers are getting paid, my taxes are getting paid, my worker's comp, all that. No one’s being cheated.”
Docks Venture’s corporate attorney, Dominic Spinazze, said he was not involved in the lawsuit with Dashing, but said in general, the problem with utilities was a large issue for Docks Venture.
“Without getting into too much, the dispute they have going with Dashing was a factor that was taken into account with the closing,” he said. “The financial burden that was left because of that dispute was just detrimental and was one of the factors.”
Mr. McKarus said El Vaquero would remain open.
The other eateries at The Docks -- The Real Seafood Co., and Zia’s -- are not affiliated with Docks Venture and are unaffected.
Mr. McKarus said the the lease Docks Venture had for Admiral’s and the equipment therein is now held by Genoa Bank. He said the bank is actively looking for a new tenant.
Officials at Genoa Bank couldn’t be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.
Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6134.