Bruxie Rancho Santa Margarita Closes Over Landlord Dispute
Some bad news for South County: Bruxie RSM is closing about a year and a half after it opened. The Chapman-born chain got a shot in the arm to expand with the help of some private investment earlier this year, but they're going to be shrinking for now with the shuttering of their Rancho Santa Margarita store. The RSM location closed today due to litigation between Bruxie corporate and their landlord, K&G/El Paseo I, LLC based out of Dana Point.
"It's with a heavy heart that we announce that we have shut the doors to our Rancho Santa Margarita location on November 11, 2013," reads the official Bruxie statement published through the Bruxie Facebook page. "This decision was not an easy one to make but was necessary due to construction deficiencies and ongoing maintenance issues that have impacted the restaurant and have forced litigation with our landlord."
The suit, which was filed April 3 in California Superior Court, alleges that the landlord misrepresented the property when Bruxie looked at it, saying that a noxious smell present was due to a previous tenant when it was instead due to an open, illegal sewer grate near the restaurant, as well as smells leaching from adjacent property.
The complaint also goes over repairs Bruxie had to make themselves to bring the location up to code so they could open.
"On May 8, 2012 the city of Rancho Santa Margarita Building/Public Works Department citied the subject property for a violation of the California Plumbing Code...," reads the lawsuit. "Plantiff notified defendants of such notice of correction, and pursuant to the lease, requested that defendants immediately make the corrections noted ... However, defendants failed and refused to do so."
In total, Bruxie is seeking to be released from their lease and for over $900,000 in property improvements, loss in sales, pre-opening expenses, repair costs, and rent that the company has spent to operate the location.
A jury trial is scheduled for May 12, 2014, with a settlement conference to be held April 11, 2014 in hopes of finding a middle ground between the two parties. Superior Court Judge Frederick Horn is presiding.
Some good news though, the staff from the store won't be losing their jobs, they'll transferred to the Costa Mesa and Irvine locations instead, and Bruxie is actively looking at South County for expansion, though there are no concrete plans just yet, Bruxie PR Rep Mona Shah tells me.
So, for now, it looks like South County-ers will have to drive up to almost-sort-of-actually Orange County to get their waffle fix.