Leigh Catherall files for bankruptcy protection for two Here to Serve restaurants

Leigh Catherall, president and CEO of Here to Serve, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday for two restaurant entities, Holy Guacamole Inc. and London Calling.

Grilled Vegetable Flat Bread with Goat Cheese at Noche. (Becky Stein/special)

Grilled Vegetable Flat Bread with Goat Cheese at Noche. (Becky Stein/special)

Last month, the restaurant group made headlines for shutting down all 10 of its restaurants at once. While Here to Serve employees scrambled to find new positions, the company’s next move remained a question mark. “We are working on reorganization,” it posted on its website, words that still hold a spot on the Here to Serve home page.

Filing for bankruptcy protection means a timeout from creditors and a move that could allow the company to reorganize and shed some of its debts. The filing does not go into great detail about its financial condition, or which restaurants it represents.

Catherall’s lawyer, Mathew A. Schuh of Busch White Norton, confirmed that Holy Guacamole’s address is  that of Noche in the Town Brookhaven development and that London Calling’s address is the same as the nearby Smash location in Town Brookhaven. He stated that the filing was in response to action taken on the part of landlords at these locations.

The filing lists the value of Holy Guacamole’s assets as $100,000 to $500,000 and its debts at $1 million to $10 million. Specifically, the filing states it owes nearly $45,000 in back rent and a $1.25 million loan to Iberia Bank. The London Calling filing is nearly identical, with reported assets of $100,000 to $500,000 and debts of between $1 million to $10 million. It lists outstanding debts to a landlord for about $55,000 and a $1.25 million loan outstanding to Iberia Bank.

Holy Guacamole was formed by Catherall’s ex-husband, Tom Catherall, the former CEO of Here to Serve, in 2010. Control of the Holy Guacamole was transferred to Leigh Catherall in 2015, according to Georgia Secretary of State business records. London Calling was formed in 2013 and also transferred to Leigh Catherall in 2015.

Schuh, who specializes in restaurant bankruptcy, stated that filing for bankruptcy protection for other former Here to Serve restaurants remains a possibility.

“We have many moving parts,” he said, calling the case one that is “in a state of flux.”

Schuh also confirmed that his client is seeking new investors and that investors have been actively pursuing Catherall’s restaurant holdings.

News of Leigh Catherall’s legal moves comes a day after news that Tom Catherall is looking to resuscitate former Here to Serve restaurants. He is currently in discussions with landlords and lawyers regarding the Noche properties in Vinings and Virginia Highland.

A non-compete clause may hinder Catherall’s plans. The clause prohibits him from operating a restaurant within two miles of any Here to Serve restaurant. However, Catherall claims that the clause, which went into effect about one year ago and has a duration of two years, is null and void because Leigh Catherall is in default in payments owed to him as part of the couple’s divorce settlement.

The AJC’s Scott Trubey contributed to this report.

More on Here to Serve:

Tom Catherall looks to reopen Here to Serve restaurants

Displaced Here to Serve chef finds job at Genki

Here to Serve restaurant closings mark end of Atlanta empire

Lawsuit filed against Here to Serve moves forward

Employees file lawsuit against Here to Serve

Tom Catherall on Here to Serve closings

Photos: Here to Serve through the years

Here to Serve restaurants closed


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