Amid a legal fight, Lotus Organic has permanently shuttered its North Cache Street location.
After closing the restaurant Sunday, owner Amy Young sat at her computer and wrote a coda on its tenure at that location, which lasted from December 2016 until the weekend.
“I thought people would love the new space and the end result of all the resources (time, energy, planning, money) and risk that went into creating it,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “But it didn’t exactly go that way.”
Young said she has been planning the close for some time because the size and expense of the new place did not re-create the same popularity she saw in the smaller location she occupied on Glenwood Avenue for about a decade until October 2016. Her first idea was to leave the space in the offseason. Then she moved the closing date to Sept. 3; then to Sunday.
However, a piece of legal-size paper posted to the front door of the restaurant Tuesday complicated the closing. The writ of execution taped to the locked door detailed a judgment in Teton County District Court that awarded $120,000 to Serenity Development to be paid by Planet Palate, Young’s entity that owns Lotus.
The document gave the Teton County Sheriff’s Office the right to seize enough “goods, currency, equipment, and equitable interests … as may be sufficient to pay the aforesaid sum of $120,000.00, plus interest accruing at the per diem rate of $13.15, and accruing costs.”
“I was blindsided by this,” Young said. “I didn’t know that by accepting that judgment that I’d walk in today and the doors would be locked.”
The seizure of property follows a settlement reached between Young and Serenity, the company that remodeled the new location before Young opened. In court documents, Serenity said Young had not paid a final invoice on the remodel for $138,059.54.
“It’s simple,” Serenity President Jeremie Moore said in a phone call with the News&Guide. “We never got paid for the renovations.”
Young had hoped to reach a different agreement with the developer.
She had “major issues with the buildout, like the electrical work and the FRP board delaminating,” she said. “I accepted responsibility for owing, even though I was hoping the contractor would take responsibility for it not being done correctly.”
Lotus has another location at the Jackson Whole Grocer. The coffee bar serves drinks like juices and smoothies, as well as specialty items like bison bone broth and matcha lattes.
Young said she planned the closure to allow her to focus her energy on that branch, so she will continue with that idea. She hopes to do pop-up dinners and expand the offerings at the coffee bar, but it might be difficult.
“All my equipment is [at the North Cache location], and the sheriffs have control of it for now, so it makes it hard,” she said.
The fate of her equipment is not settled. Her investor has papers that claim possession of it, but the developers say it is rightfully theirs because of the judgment, she said.
Young said she never believed the expansion into the North Cache location would end like this, and that her foray into running the high-end restaurant ultimately took her away from what she wanted to do most.
“At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was make good, organic food for people,” she said.