Why Glenn of Glenn’s Diner Is Out Of His Namesake Place

Photo: courtesy Plate

Half a dozen years ago in Evanston, an unpretentious seafood joint and oyster bar, the kind of place that puts its specials up on a chalkboard, called Davis Street Fishmarket acquired new owners, upscaled the joint… and lost one of its co-owners and key personnel, Glenn Fahlstrom. Fahlstrom came into the city and opened his own version of a seafood joint, again unpretentious (it had a quirky sideline in breakfast cereal) and nothing too gourmet, but good quality fish prepared in an old school way that respected the ingredients and showed them at their best. And now it’s happened again: Glenn Falhstrom is out of Glenn’s Diner in North Center after a dispute with partner Laurence Jones, which apparently stretches back to 2009. And some of the details, at least, can be found in a court judgement filed over a year ago.

Fahlstrom and Jones founded a company in 2005 to operate Glenn’s Diner; each of them owned just under half of the company, with a small nonvoting share going to chef David Najman. In April 2009 Fahlstrom and Jones, as the appellate court’s ruling puts it, “apparently [had] a contentious meeting at the restaurant.” It seems that Fahlstrom, fed up, signed papers agreeing to sell his share of the restaurant to Jones for a comparatively token $1000. Jones wrote the check but Fahlstrom then seems to have thought better of it, tearing up the check and then proceeding to court to invalidate the agreement on the grounds that the process had not followed the procedures (which called for both mediation and arbitration) for dissolution of the partnership specified in the original partnership documents.

Fahlstrom, who has also been an actor for many years (he appeared in an Evanston Arts Depot production of As You Like It in 2011), eventually lost when an appellate court overturned the trial court’s ruling but worse, had his finances depleted by the long progress of the case. And last week he finally quit both the suit and the restaurant, telling the Center Square Journal, “I had to give up my restaurant to fix my finances and to avoid personal bankruptcy… I’m absolutely light as air because I’m not in a law suit, and I’m absolutely devastated because I had to give up my restaurant.” He plans to open another restaurant on the same concept— though it will have to have a new name, probably not involving “Glenn.” [Center Square Journal]

Why Glenn of Glenn’s Diner Is Out Of His Namesake Place