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St. Louis restaurant bankruptcies begin with Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh

Four entities associated with Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh filed Chapter 11 "due to the unprecedented and sudden impact brought on by the coronavirus pandemic"
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — A restaurant chain with a location in Clayton has filed bankruptcy in St. Louis, the first such local filing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four entities associated with Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh filed Chapter 11 Wednesday "due to the unprecedented and sudden impact brought on by the coronavirus pandemic," said Rob Eggmann, the firm's attorney.

He said the plan is to sell the main operating entity, which franchises locations of the fast-casual brand, as well as four franchises owned by the entities that filed. That includes the location at 8143 Maryland Ave. in Clayton. A Creve Coeur location, at 810 N. New Ballas Road, closed previously. Twenty-one Garbanzo franchises are not included in the bankruptcy cases, Eggmann said.

He added that the restaurants will remain open during the court process.

"Just as important, Garbanzo will seek immediate relief to enable it to maintain ordinary operations; to continue to make payments to its vendors and landlords; to pay its employees in the usual manner; and to honor the provisions of its ongoing commitments," Eggmann said.

The main Garbanzo entity, called Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill LLC, listed assets of $1 million to $10 million and liabilities of $10 million to $50 million.

Its creditors include familiar St. Louis names.

Entities associated with developer Michael Staenberg, for example, have claims totaling nearly $8.4 million, according to court papers. Staenberg joined the company as an investor in 2014. 

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