Defunct Farmers Market chef wants investor lawsuit tossed

Farmer's Market opened in late January in Petersburg's Old Town District. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Farmer’s Market opened in late January in Petersburg’s Old Town District. (J. Elias O’Neal)

The former head of a short-lived Petersburg restaurant has fired back at a group of investors that sued him last month.

Frits Huntjens, who was chef and operator of Farmer’s Market Restaurant & Bar during its four months in business, responded June 30 to the lawsuit filed by City Market Investors, a partnership between local real estate investors Alexander “Sandy” Graham Jr. and Tom Wilkinson.

In asking for the case to be dismissed, Huntjens denies claims that he broke the terms of the lease on the restaurant, as well as disputing that he owes $30,000 in back rent.

Frits Huntjens

Frits Huntjens

Huntjens also denies that that he owes CMI $100,000 for nonpayment of a promissory note, and allegedly misrepresenting himself as part of CMI to sign a $9,100 contract on a billboard ad for the Farmer’s Market along Interstate 95.

David Spiro, a Richmond attorney with Spiro & Browne who is representing Huntjens, said his client did not have any comment on the lawsuit.

J.P. McGuire Boyd, Jr., a Richmond attorney with Williams Mullen who is representing CMI, would not comment on the case.

The restaurant opened in late January at 9 E. Old St. in the city’s Old Town District, with a higher-end menu that featured raw oysters, pork belly and braised beef ribs. CMI invested about $2 million to revive the historic octagonal building – which is owned by the city – and lease it to Huntjens , previously executive chef and owner of former Richmond restaurant 1 North Belmont.

The venture closed May 22, according to the June 1 lawsuit filed in the city’s circuit court.

The restaurant remains shuttered and without an operator.

Wilkinson said in an email Wednesday that Graham is interviewing multiple operators “with lots of experience who are competing for the lease,” but did not say when the restaurant would reopen.

Farmer's Market opened in late January in Petersburg's Old Town District. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Farmer’s Market opened in late January in Petersburg’s Old Town District. (J. Elias O’Neal)

The former head of a short-lived Petersburg restaurant has fired back at a group of investors that sued him last month.

Frits Huntjens, who was chef and operator of Farmer’s Market Restaurant & Bar during its four months in business, responded June 30 to the lawsuit filed by City Market Investors, a partnership between local real estate investors Alexander “Sandy” Graham Jr. and Tom Wilkinson.

In asking for the case to be dismissed, Huntjens denies claims that he broke the terms of the lease on the restaurant, as well as disputing that he owes $30,000 in back rent.

Frits Huntjens

Frits Huntjens

Huntjens also denies that that he owes CMI $100,000 for nonpayment of a promissory note, and allegedly misrepresenting himself as part of CMI to sign a $9,100 contract on a billboard ad for the Farmer’s Market along Interstate 95.

David Spiro, a Richmond attorney with Spiro & Browne who is representing Huntjens, said his client did not have any comment on the lawsuit.

J.P. McGuire Boyd, Jr., a Richmond attorney with Williams Mullen who is representing CMI, would not comment on the case.

The restaurant opened in late January at 9 E. Old St. in the city’s Old Town District, with a higher-end menu that featured raw oysters, pork belly and braised beef ribs. CMI invested about $2 million to revive the historic octagonal building – which is owned by the city – and lease it to Huntjens , previously executive chef and owner of former Richmond restaurant 1 North Belmont.

The venture closed May 22, according to the June 1 lawsuit filed in the city’s circuit court.

The restaurant remains shuttered and without an operator.

Wilkinson said in an email Wednesday that Graham is interviewing multiple operators “with lots of experience who are competing for the lease,” but did not say when the restaurant would reopen.

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