Chef Luke Palladino, facing sizable judgments from the landlord of his shuttered South Philadelphia restaurant and its main investor, closed his Jersey Shore restaurant over Labor Day weekend and on Wednesday, Sept. 7, filed for personal bankruptcy protection, according to court records.
Palladino's court filing lists assets of nearly $59,000 and liabilities of nearly $1.19 million. He has filed under Chapter 7, which if approved would liquidate many of his assets to discharge the debts.
In mid-July, Palladino closed Palladino's on Passyunk, his splashy, critically praised Italian restaurant that opened in late 2014 at the gateway of the East Passyunk Avenue commercial strip. At the time of the shutdown, Palladino said the restaurant would reopen Sept. 9 with a more populist focus.
Update: Valley Forge Casino announced Sept. 13 that it would "go in a new direction with fine dining and is no longer affiliated with Luke Palladino. We will soon announce plans for a new steakhouse restaurant concept. LP Steak will operate in the short term until the new steakhouse restaurant opens. ... We thank Luke Palladino for his contributions and bringing his innovative culinary expertise to Valley Forge Casino Resort, and we look forward to unveiling our new dining experience." Palladino's bankruptcy filing indicated that his contract would end in late September.
On the eve of the bankruptcy filing, Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking in Linwood, Atlantic County, closed - the denouement of a 13-year string of Jersey Shore restaurants that began at the Borgata and continued for several years at Harrah's. Palladino also operated a smaller version of LP Steak in Northfield, N.J., and a catering company.
Palladino's casino luck soured in 2014 when the Revel casino closed abruptly, idling his Luke's Kitchen and Marketplace; in the bankruptcy filing, he effectively writes off thousands of dollars of equipment still inside.
The bankruptcy petition lists dozens of small businesses - nearly $1,400 owed to Arway linens, nearly $12,300 to Ashley Foods, more than $5,228 to Samuels & Sons Seafood - as well as a judgment of nearly $118,000 obtained by Jersey Shore restaurateur Kenny Guerrier.
Also mentioned is more than $350,000 owed to an investor identified as NEA Passyunk LLC, which filed suit in June in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court against LP Passyunk LLC, Palladino's limited liability company.
Palladino's South Philadelphia landlord, Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corp., is owed about $33,000, according to the petition. Last month, PARC filed a judgment last month in Common Pleas Court against LP Passyunk, seeking $428,000 and possession of the restaurant premises. Under a separate agreement, over the summer Palladino turned over the keys to an apartment above the restaurant.