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Update: Gingham Sale to Cohn Group Falls Through

James Brennan: “No, we’re not shopping Gingham. We never were, and we’re not."

Update: 3:05 p.m. Wednesday

Gingham will be staying in La Mesa, at least for now.

Negotiations between Enlightened Hospitality Restaurant Group (EHGRP) and the Cohn Restaurant Group about a possible sale of the East County stitch in chef Brian Malarkey's tapestry of restaurants have broken down, a representative for Cohn told Patch Wednesday afternoon.

There was no specific detail about the fallout offered by the Cohn representative, other than to say that the two sides "ultimately were unable to reach an agreement on several different factors," and at this point, "the deal is not moving forward."

James Brennan, managing partner of EHGRP with Malarkey, told UT-San Diego's Keli Dailey that the group is not looking for another potential buyer.

“No, we’re not shopping Gingham. We never were, and we’re not,” Brennan said.

Original story:

Rumors that Gingham, the La Mesa restaurant that is part of the fabric-themed eateries owned by celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, will be sold have come out recently, lending speculation on the future of the popular restaurant.

According to a report in U-T San Diego, James Brennan, who co-owns many of the properties with Malarkey as part of Enlightened Hospitality Restaurant Group, told the paper that there is "a less than 50 percent chance of a sale."

Brennan did confirm that he was approached by David Cohn, the principal behind the Cohn Restaurant Group which owns about 15 restaurants across the county, about the space, but that nothing is imminent.

“Our lawyers are already talking, but it’s by no means done,” said Brennan. "We're not in escrow. Not even close."

Gingham opened in La Mesa in January to much fanfare. In its short time on La Mesa Boulevard, it has become a popular spot for dinner, and starting in May, lunch as well.

On Dec. 9, an early morning fire caused by oily rags and exploding propane tanks led to the restaurant's closing. It was extinguished with relatively minimal damage, mostly to the exterior, and the restaurant opened four days later.

Brennan told UT-San Diego that the fire was not a factor in the decision and that there are things he can and cannot say as the talks are ongoing.

A representative from the Cohn Group, which operates popular resturants like Little Italy's Indigo Grill, The Prado in Balboa Park, and the Corvette Diner, confirmed to the paper that talks of a are happening.

Brennan said that the [possible] sale of Gingham is sparked by it "not being part of our growth vehicle," he said. “We need to really focus … and at the end of the day, Brian and I are really focused on the big picture — the national rollout. We’re not rolling out five brands.”

Searsucker, which opened in the Gaslamp in 2010 recently expanded into Scottsdale, Arizona. In April, Searsucker will open a third location in Austin, Texas, according to the paper. There are also plans to replicate Heringbone in another location outside San Diego as well.

Craig Maxwell December 19, 2012 at 07:09 PM
A Malarkey fabric has failed!
Kevin George December 19, 2012 at 09:43 PM
We might get that BBQ joint after all.
Craig Maxwell December 20, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Good East County eats at an affordable--a fair--price. That's all someone needs (and has thus far neglected) to do.
Batman December 20, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Never been to Gingham yet. I'm gonna try the place tomorrow night.

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