Sona will close its door this Saturday, May 15th, but chef David Myers promises that the restaurant will return in 2011. Today L.A. Times details the restaurant’s rocky final months that lead to the supposed demise of Myers’ empire, which is still two restaurants-strong, though both are staffed by completely new management. So, how did it all come to this?
In September, Sona filed for Chapter 11 protection after Myer’s Swiss partners pulled out of the restaurant business, leading to a sale of Sona’s assets, including much of its wine stock. Besides Myers’ rapid growth that lead to a bigger Boule, Pizza Ortica, and Comme Ca despite a divorce from his prized pastry chef wife, a former partner of Myers cites the chef’s people skills as part of the problem, charging that "his way of managing companies, managing people and accepting cost controls needs some further development." PR spin is pointed to for Myer’s ability to mask financial woes with news like Boule’s expansion to Culver City and Toyko. The same former partner reveals, "Boule never made money and finally had to be closed to stop the bleeding," before saying something similar about profits at Sona.
As The Sona Restaurant Group fell apart during September’s unrest, Myers formed the David Myers Group with new partners. This preceded "a slew of firings" of chefs, sommeliers, and managers that felt out of place for a staff whose bonding techniques were "once featured in Gourmet and People magazines" and no doubt lead to the showers of shit-talking on Eater.
Though it sounds as though Myers definitely landed in a real mess when it comes to Sona’s shutter, we’re not sure if the current talk of his demise is really as bad as the headlines keep projecting. Restaurants do fail or call for reinvention from time to time, and Myers has consistently proven his considerable gifts and eye for talent in his kitchen. He swears Sona is coming back to L.A. in a space already secured and that both Comme Ca and Ortica are expanding. He also promises a project in Japan is still in the works.
But whether he succeeds or not in another venture, there’s one thing L.A. can count on: There will be an act two in this story and we haven’t tasted the last of David Myers.
David Myers’ culinary empire in flux [L.A. Times]