Booze bandits: Restaurant claims Gregory Hotel owners stole liquor

Eatery says it was illegally evicted and its padlock cut with power saw

The Gregory Hotel in the Garment District (Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
The Gregory Hotel in the Garment District (Google Maps, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

New York hotels have had a rocky two years, but few have had it worse than the Gregory.

The Garment District hotel’s troubles began in early 2020, around the onset of the pandemic, when the owner, Meadow Partners, defaulted on its senior loan. The same year, the hotel’s workers stopped getting paid, prompting their union to step in.

The next year did not bring any better news. The senior lender, AllianceBernstein, initiated a foreclosure on the property in April. Eventually the hotel, at 42 West 35th Street, was sold in a foreclosure sale for $32.8 million, about $17 million less than Meadow Partners paid for it in 2014.

The hotel’s mezzanine lender, entities tied to Related Companies, later sued Meadow, alleging the hotel owner defaulted on a $15 million loan. The matter appears to have been resolved as the case has been discontinued.

But now the hotel is at the center of another lawsuit. This one involves a bizarre dispute between Brendan’s Bar & Grill and the hotel’s new owners, 42 W 35 Holding and Vlash Pepa.

The eatery alleges the owners evicted it before its lease expired — and rubbed salt in the wound by stealing 150 bottles of wine and 60 bottles of liquor in the process.

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The restaurant had been a tenant at the hotel since 2002, when it was a Comfort Inn. The eatery alleges it was never informed that its lease expired by Meadow Partners or by Highgate Hotels, the previous operator.

In February, the lawsuit alleges, three people removed the street-entrance padlock using an electric saw. Then in March, it continues, three people including Pepa were seen walking out with cases of the restaurant’s wine and liquor.

The restaurant’s two principals, accompanied by a detective from the New York Police Department, found a basement delivery door had been broken into, according to the suit.

The restaurant owners remain locked out of the property and are alleging harassment and illegal eviction.

The Commercial Observer first reported on the lawsuit. The property owners have not yet filed a response.

Pepa Holdings and the lawyer representing the restaurant did not return a request for comment. Pepa declined to comment.