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Sweet Cakes by Melissa Pays Up; Lardo/ChefStable Face Ownership Battle

Welcome to CascadiaWire, a weekly collection of restaurant news from up-and-down the Pacific Northwest corridor.

Facebook/Sweet Cakes by Melissa Protest

GRESHAM—After refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple—and after defying a court order that it pay the couple $135,000 in damages—Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa coughed up the amount, plus and additional $1,920.07 in interest. It’s not over though. Per The Oregonian, the Kleins will continue to appeal the decision in 2016. If that appeal proves successful, the Kleins would be reimbursed what they’ve already paid out.

NORTHEAST—Speaking of lawsuits, restaurateur Ramzy Hattar—an investor in Kachka and River Pig— has sued ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman and Lardo’s Rick Gencarelli (Lardo’s a ChefStable business). The beef? Hattar claims he was cut out of the decision to divert $200,000 of Lardo’s assets to open a third Lardo location on North Williams Avenue. He also says his voting rights in the business were curtailed regarding the original Lardos. If Hattar’s suit goes his way, the judge could compel Huffman and Gencarelli to sell him Lardo East and Lardo West, worth $1.6M.

BIG-TIME CLOSINGS—Portland continued to have plenty of high-profile restaurant openings in 2015, but what was more remarkable were the city’s high-profile closings. In the span of two short months, all of the following all shuttered: the short-lived ChefStable partner Frice Pastry, the much adored French bistro Cocotte, The Farm Cafe, Israeli spot Levant, Hawthorne Lobster House, the 30-year-old Guild’s Lake Inn, the Kargi Gogo Georgian food cart, sushi makers Hokusei, the gastro-dive The Foggy Notion, and Schezuapn favorite, Lucky Strike. And a couple of spots—the casually Italian Marmo, and the casually French, Renard—each closed after just seven months of business.

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