Holy guacamole: Jared Galbut and Keith Menin sued over South Beach taco bar and nearby pizzeria

Minority partner alleges Bodega Taqueria y Tequila paid employees who worked shifts at other restaurants and other allegations

Nov.November 08, 2019 08:45 AM
Jared Galbut and Keith Menin are majority owners of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila  

Jared Galbut and Keith Menin are majority owners of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

In a recently filed lawsuit, downtown Miami nightclub pioneer Louis Puig is accusing hotel and restaurant developers Jared Galbut and Keith Menin of messing up his investment in a South Beach taco bar and a recently closed pizza joint operated by the duo.

Puig, who founded electronic dance venue Space in 2000 and sold it in 2013, is suing Galbut and Menin, along with four holding companies, for allegedly co-mingling staff and resources without his consent, refusing to show him the accounting books and the distribution of profits, and sending employees to work at other restaurants the pair own. Puig’s attorney Michael J. Schlesinger declined comment.

Ronald Lowy, the lawyer for Galbut and Menin, said the complaint is full of incorrect and inaccurate representations. Lowy said Puig is trying to pressure Galbut and Menin into buying him out.

“The companies have always acted properly and provided all documentation to Mr. Puig,” Lowy said. “We are happy to conduct negotiations with Mr. Puig, but we will not allow this frivolous lawsuit to impact our consideration.”

Since 2014, Puig has been a minority partner in Bodega Taqueria y Tequila at 1220 16th Street in Miami Beach and Ricky’s pizzeria next door at 1222 16th Street. The two restaurants are majority owned and operated by Galbut and Menin, the braintrust behind Menin Hospitality, which also operates three Miami Beach hotels and one in Chicago.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleges that managers who were being paid by Bodega were seen working at Menin Hospitality’s Halves and Wholes sandwich shop and Pizza Bar, another pizzeria. Puig also alleges that Bodega revenue and employees were diverted to Ricky’s without his consent or authorization.

Galbut and Menin opened two food kiosks under the Ricky’s banner and restored an airstream trailer that sells Bodega food at various locations around Miami. But they have refused to provide Puig with an accounting of sales and the distribution of profits, according to the suit. Puig alleges mismanagement by his partners resulted in Ricky’s ceasing operations. He is asking a judge force Galbut and Menin to turn over all financial and bank records for the two restaurants.

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