How A Legal Dispute Made The Future Of Delmonico's Steakhouse Unclear

Few restaurants in the nation, if any, can match the name recognition that Delmonico's Steakhouse of Manhattan has. More than 190 years have gone into making Delmonico's, the first full-service restaurant in the U.S., the icon it is today. As Forbes relates, the restaurant was started by Swiss immigrants in 1827. Currently, the eatery is located just blocks from the New York Stock Exchange, where its extravagant decor and signature steaks have come to be regarded as the pinnacle of American cuisine.

Delmonico's is undoubtedly one of the most influential restaurants in America. It was the first restaurant in the country to offer sit-down dining with an à la carte menu and wine list, per Forbes, and the first transatlantic telegram message was sent from one of its dining rooms. In 1868, it also became the nation's first eatery to allow women to dine without male companions (via Atlas Obscura), and later became known for pioneering farm-to-table cuisine. Its legacy is truly impressive, but unfortunately, it may be all we have left.

The owners of Delmonico's suing each other was only the beginning

The tides began to turn for Delmonico's in 2019. By then, ownership was divided between Omer Grgurev, Ferdo Grgurev, Milan Licul, and Branko Turcinovic (via Eater). In August of that fateful year, the Grgurevs filed a lawsuit alleging that Licul and Turcinovic had kept improper financial records and misappropriated collected sales taxes, exposing Delmonico's to several potential legal penalties. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

While the suit was still pending, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation, and Delmonico's shuttered its doors. They haven't opened since. In April, Eater announced that the steakhouse's entire 121-person staff had been laid off. A glimmer of hope appeared a year later when the Supreme Court of New York sided with the Grgurevs, transitioning full control of the restaurant to them, but they had another surprise waiting.

During the COVID closure, Delmonico's suffered flood damage from Hurricane Ida (via the Hudson Valley Post). The Grgurevs requested repairs from their landlord, who allegedly failed to respond for months. This is why the restaurant claimed they were witholding rent payments, and in April 2022, they received an eviction notice. No public updates have been provided since, though Delmonico's Facebook page says, "We are tirelessly working on our next historic chapter." One hopes the pages of history will turn to that next chapter soon, and until then, New York and the culinary world at large will continue to wait with bated breath.