Lundy’s used to serve heaps of fresh seafood to nearly a million diners a year in its iconic Sheepshead Bay dining hall. But now, the owners of the 49,000-square-foot building are only dishing out courtroom beef.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday aims to compel a dead shareholder’s estate to sell his stake in the company that has owned the Lundy’s building since 1988.
When Brooklyn entrepreneur Dimitrios Kaloidis died in September 2019, he left behind 25 shares in Sheepshead Restaurant Associates, which owns the landmarked building at 1901 Emmons Avenue. While Lundy’s closed decades ago, its once-deteriorating building was restored and a recent appraisal valued it at $11.4 million, making Kaloidis’ 25 percent stake worth nearly $3 million.
Now, George Kaloidis — his brother and fellow shareholder — is suing to compel the estate to sell the shares. The suit hinges on a 1988 shareholder agreement stipulating that deceased shareholders are obligated to offer their shares for sale to existing owners. Despite the clause, the Kaloidis estate hasn’t responded to George’s offers, according to filings.
George Kaloidis, who already owns 50 shares of the company, filed the suit against Georgia Kaloidis, Dimitrios’ widow, and Paul Kerantas, a New York accountant, who are the executors of the estate.
“I expect it’s a purely procedural matter,” said Alex Kleyman, an attorney for George Kaloidis. In coming days, Kleyman plans to file a motion for summary judgment, which would settle the matter without a full trial. Georgia Kaloidis couldn’t be reached.
Lundy’s restaurant was a Brooklyn institution, offering a special dinner out for the borough’s middle and working-class for almost half a century. When it was built, it was one of the largest restaurants in the country; at its peak, Lundy’s served 10,000 people on an average Sunday, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
It was built by Irving Lundy in the teeth of the Great Depression, just as Sheepshead Bay emerged from decades of construction. In 1929, as a government-sponsored facelift finished modernizing the neighborhood’s splintered piers, Lundy decided to scale up his fish store to a two-story restaurant on Emmons Avenue.
That year, he acquired a prime bayfront plot for his “seafood palace,” and when construction finished in 1934, he moved his restaurant there. It was by far the largest on the block and could seat 2,400 to 2,800 people (the number varies in the many histories of the establishment).
Lundy’s family kept the eatery running for a time after his death in 1977, but sold it with some nearby land for $11 million in 1981. Lundy’s was closed for years and as the building deteriorated, it seemed destined for demolition.
But Sheepshead Restaurant Associates purchased the building in 1988 and eventually split it into 15 rental spaces, with a handful of restaurants on the ground floor and some commercial tenants above.
The iconic exterior, with its stucco walls and low sloping tiled roof, remains largely the same, including the lettering F.W.I.L Lundy Brothers in the original font above the entrances, for the initials of the founder, whose full name was Frederick William Irving Lundy.