The David Burke saga began in July 2013, when news broke that the NYC restauranteur would be opening a second outpost of one of his restaurants in Aspen. "Spending years in Aspen for the Food & Wine Classic and many winters skiing with my kids, I always wanted to open a restaurant here," said Burke.
Original plans said that the restaurant, David Burke Kitchen, would open in January 2014. The opening was pushed back to February, then June, and well, the restaurant is still not open. David Burke Kitchen is to be housed on the second floor of a new building, located at Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street. Executive chef Matthew O'Neill was tapped to lead the culinary team with a contemporary, farm to table-inspired menu whenever the restaurant opened.
Fast-forward to present time when The Aspen Daily News reported that Mark Hunt, an Aspen developer who controls several prominent downtown properties, filed an eviction lawsuit against Burke. The lawsuit states that a company known as David Burke's Rocky Aspen, LLC and Patrick McGarth (an executive chef from New York) have broken leases for two spaces in the building. Furthermore, it states that Hunt is owed over $150,000 in unpaid rent from the tenants. The monthly price tag for the spot? $44,583 in monthly rent for 5,537 square feet, the bulk of which is on the top floor, as well as $11,667 a month for the 3,803-square-foot basement lounge area. The lawsuit claims the defendants were consistently late on rent payments, and didn't pay it at all in November.
At the same time, Burke is also involved in another lawsuit, from Centaur Construction, a company that claims it is owed $607,605 for work performed. Court documents say the construction company was contracted for a $3.1 million project from David Burke's Rocky Aspen, LLC. When Cenatur stopped receiving payments in January, work stopped entirely. Construction didn't resume until August, when a new contractor was brought on for the project.
A PR representative for Burke said there is still hope that the restaurant and lounge will open this winter. The company released a statement saying: "We are diligently working through this matter with our attorneys and are confident we will come to a resolution which all parties fully agree upon. Meanwhile, we are pressing forward with plans for a winter opening for David Burke Kitchen in Aspen and the associated lounge."