November 21, 2017

Embattled Owner of Prime Restaurants Succumbs to Growing Financial Pressure

New York – Joey Allaham was considered by many a visionary. His pioneering upscale restaurant Prime Grill was the first of many upscale kosher eateries that he opened over nearly two decades ago with the help of a cadre of investors. But Mr. Allaham faced several major lawsuits that ultimately led to the closing of his restaurants. He recently closed the last two locations of an empire he had hoped to build, Prime at the Bentley and Prime Butcher Baker. His foray into Brooklyn and Passover program also ended in failure, although Allaham won a lawsuit against the hotel that was to host his program. According to Elan Kornblum, President & Publisher of the Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, Allaham is promising to open a Prime Grill in a different location “but at this point nothing is confirmed.” Said Mr. Kornblum:  “It is very sad as Prime Grill was the crown jewel of kosher dining for over a decade and was the standard everyone looked to.” Allaham became embroiled in several lawsuits including the Lincoln Square Synagogue where a leading rabbi ruled that he owed $1 million to the synagogue. A knowledgeable source told Kosher Today that Allaham may very well turn his creativity and energy to other enterprises.
Prime Grill’s move to the Sony building was the restaurant’s third relocation since launching in 2000. Allaham was involved in a lawsuit over Prime Grill leaving the East 49th Street location, resulting in a settlement that alleged he had owed more than $850,000 in unpaid rent. Prime Grill was evicted from the second location, on West 56th Street, in August 2015. Prime KO (which became Prime West), was evicted from its West 85th Street location in April 2016. In November 2016, an arbitrator in a legal case involving Allaham’ s Passover program in Puerto Rico in 2015 ruled in his favor over the Vieques Hotel Partners, owners of the W Retreat and Spa.

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