As platinum-tufted food dude Guy Fieri moves to shut down his first restaurant venture, Johnny Garlic's, his business partner is fighting to keep it open. According to Courthouse News, Fieri's longtime business partner Steven Gruber filed suit against the Food Network star on December 18 to stop the restaurant from closing. His suit comes just days after Fieri filed a petition with the state's Office of the Secretary to dissolve the company. Gruber is seeking to purchase Fieri's shares in the business they co-founded in 1996 and keep the restaurant, which has seven locations across California, open.
Reached by Eater for comment, a Fieri rep issued the following statement: "After more than twenty successful years as a partner in Johnny Garlic's, Inc., Guy Fieri has chosen to separate from the company and its restaurants. Guy wishes the entire Johnny Garlic's, Inc., team the best."
"Guy Fieri filed to dissolve the company and Steve Gruber filed a petition to stop the dissolution and is exercising his right to purchase Guy’s shares under the appropriate California codes," Johnny Garlic's CFO Amy Witt tells Eater via email. "Under this petition filed by Steve, the company will continue normal operations." But without Fieri on board, perhaps the restaurant will have to rename its Guy-Talian Spicy Sausage & Penne pasta dish.
Fieri's move to shut down Johnny Garlic's isn't completely unforeseen: A Sacramento location was shuttered without notice late last year. Thankfully for Donkey Sauce fans, Fieri still has plenty of restaurants at which to unleash his particular brand of culinary kewlness upon diners, including Guy's American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square and Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar.