Customers pack into Blind Pig after hearing it's closing - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Customers pack into Blind Pig after hearing it's closing

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Tuesday, the promise of a deal from the building owner's attorney gave the owner of The Blind Pig hope that his business could stay open, but that deal never happened. Tuesday, the promise of a deal from the building owner's attorney gave the owner of The Blind Pig hope that his business could stay open, but that deal never happened.
Joe Frase Joe Frase
Tricia Washer Tricia Washer
Holly Hill Holly Hill
Joe Gathright Joe Gathright

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A battle between the owners of a popular Louisville restaurant and the building's owner has gotten ugly. Tuesday, the promise of a deal from the building owner's attorney gave the owner of The Blind Pig hope that his business could stay open, but that deal never happened.

Steve Porter, an attorney representing The Blind Pig said James Proud, the attorney for Peyton Ray and his company SP Holdings who own the building, called him offering a compromise that would come Wednesday.  But Porter said after numerous phone calls and e-mails to Proud he didn't respond on Wednesday.

Now, the restaurant must follow a court order to close after the weekend, leaving customers upset and about 25 employees without a job.

After hearing the news, customers packed The Blind Pig Wednesday night. Blind Pig Operations Manager Tricia Washer said of the customers, "They were devastated, they couldn't believe it."  Restaurant owner Joe Frase said, "They were sad and very upset."

Customer Holly Hill said when she heard the news, "I was outraged and like many other people in town and we just wish there was something more we could do!"

It's done. A court order is forcing the restaurant out after dinner service Saturday for not paying rent. But Frase said building owner Peyton Ray and his company SP Holdings have been refusing his rent checks for months. His attorney Steve Porter says it's clear SP Holdings wants to reopen its old second floor bar, named Meat, to capitalize on new business coming next spring as a new distillery and a huge dance bar open across the street.

State Alcohol Beverage Control officers warned the restaurant and the upstairs bar that both venues could not have a liquor license. Porter said that's when the building owner stopped accepting the rent checks.

Frase understands, it's not his building, but he said the way it was handled was not right.

After opening in 2010, The Blind Pig became everything Frase hoped for as a local Foodie hot spot. Hill said, "I read the reviews and thought, what a great idea!" Those rave reviews included a food feature in the New York Times. Critics loved the pork creations, the hand-made bar and the Butchertown vibe.

"I've been in the restaurant business since I was 15 and it's all I've ever done," Frase said, "It's always been my dream that I own my own place and my mom died earlier this year and it was always her dream to see me have my own place."

Customer Joe Gathright said no matter where Frase and The Blind Pig wind up, he and his family will follow. He said of Frase, "He's emotional because when you have a place like this, you sink so much of yourself into it, but whenever they open up, we will absolutely be there when the doors open, I can't wait." 

We wanted to get the building owners side of the story, but they did not respond to our questions. They did send us this statement that read; "We wish The Blind Pig success in its future endeavors, but due to non-payment of rent, SP Holdings, LLC has terminated the tenancy with generous notice."

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