Drama continues to follow chef Eric Austin, better known as Big E.
A few months ago, he partnered with the owners of a forthcoming Brazilian restaurant in Uptown, supposedly set to open this week. But today, Austin announced that he's no longer involved with Viva Brazil, and doesn't sound too happy about the situation...[jump]
This morning, Austin posted the following message on his Facebook page:
AFTER PUTTING MY ENERGY, SWEAT AND CREATIVE HEART INTO THE DEVELOPING AND OPENING OF VIVA BRAZIL RESTAURANT, I REGRETTABLY INFORM MY FB FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS THAT MY FAMILY AND I CAN NO LONGER SUPPORT ANY ENDEAVOR MADE BY THIS RESTAURANT AS THEY HAVE WITH BLATANT DISREGARD FOR OUR CONTRACT, SOUGHT TO REMOVE ME AS CHEF. IT WAS MY WISH TO BRING TO THE CITY OF MPLS A UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCE SHOWCASING THE WORLD OF BRAZILIAN CUISINE BROUGHT TO YOU AS ONLY YOURS TRULY COULD, AND NOW AM LEFT TO DEAL WITH THIS EGREGIOUS ACT OF PIRACY. I CANNOT VOUCHE [SIC] FOR ANY FOOD EXPERIENCE YOU RECIEVE [SIC] SHOULD YOU VISIT AND WISH TO CLEAR MY NAME OF THE ESTABLISHMENT AS I GO FORWARD WITH LEGAL ACTION AGAINST VIVA BRAZIL RESTAURANT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT THUS FAR, YOURS TRULY, CHEF ERIC (BIG E) AUSTIN
This isn't the first time that Austin, who made his name by opening the former Big E.'s Soul at 18th and Nicollet, has had disputes with his business partners. After shuttering Big E.'s, in part due to such troubles, Austin left Bourbon Street Steakhouse under similarly abrupt circumstances.
Calls placed to two phone numbers associated with Viva Brazil were disconnected or unanswered so the owners have not yet reached for comment.
** The Southwest Journal has further updates on the situation and manages to work in the word "intransigence".