Talk about your all time double-downs. Dario Danesh, that onetime partner in and current leaseholder of the property formerly known as Scratch Bar in Beverly Hills? Turns out he’s staying put — and keeping the Scratch Bar name while he’s at it.
There was some early speculation that this whole back-and-forth between Danesh and Phillip Frankland Lee, the founding chef of Scratch Bar (it was a pop-up restaurant inside Lee’s own home before moving into a Beverly Hills brick and mortar) would calm down soon enough, and that just maybe Danesh was only keeping his version of Scratch Bar open long enough to glean some dineLA dollars.
Lee, after finally learning from Eater that the restaurant he told everyone was closing was actually still up and running, even took to Yelp to let unhappy customers know that there was an imposter on the loose.
Apparently all that record-setting-straightening hasn’t slowed down Danesh one bit, as just today he sent around an email notifying the world that not only was Scratch Bar still going strong post-dineLA, they’ve actually hired a new executive chef.
And who’s the poor sap now stuck in the middle of this all while trying to corral the menu? One Evaldo Garcia, who has been working at Scarpetta and was, for a time, manning the casual eatery Lunch in Culver City.
What’s even more bizarre is the depth of Danesh’s decision to reaffirm his claim that Scratch Bar never closed — it only lost its opening chef. (For the record, Danesh no longer feels like giving Eater any comment on the story, and refused to confirm even initially that he did, in fact, own the rights to the Scratch Bar name). It turns out there are even plans, per the email being sent around, for a ribbon cutting with the mayor of Beverly Hills to re-welcome Scratch Bar into the neighborhood. Sort of odd for a restaurant that ‘never closed’, but whatever.
So where does this leave everything? In murky waters, for sure. But what is becoming abundantly clear is that this all has to end somewhere, and soon. Lee is planning to open his version of Scratch Bar, which he still maintains is closed, up in Encino in no time at all. And having two Scratch Bars, each one denying that the other exists? It’s not only confusing for customers and just plain silly — depending on some ownership details regarding the Scratch Bar name, it may not be legal.