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Latest Brennan's Saga Plot Twist: Brennan's Inc. Is Bankrupt

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Outside Brennan's
Outside Brennan's
Photo: Official Website

The byzantine family feud surrounding Brennan's, the French Quarter's most famous pink dining establishment, got another new chapter yesterday when Brennan's Inc., the family-owned company that ran the Royal Street restaurant, was forced into bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. (If this blog were truly interactive, now would be the time for some dramatic orchestral music signaling a crazy plot twist.)

News of Brennan Inc.'s bankruptcy comes by way of Todd Slack, an attorney for father-daughter duo Ted Brennan and Bridgette Brennan Tyrrell. According to NOLA.com's Doug MacCash, a trustee will soon liquidate the company's remaining assets to pay off its sundry creditors if nothing changes with Brennan Inc.'s messy financial and legal situation.


Here's a partial recap of the most recent Brennan's drama, from MacCash's report:

The debt-ridden Brennan's Inc. is owned by Ted Brennan, Pip Brennan and other family share-holders. Ted and Pip long wrestled for control of the lucrative eatery founded by their father, Owen E. Brennan. But sometime in recent years, Brennan's fell on hard times. Mired in business debt, the squabbling brothers were stripped of the salmon-colored Royal Street townhouse that was the restaurant's home for more than 60 years in May.

The building was sold at sheriff's auction to Ralph Brennan, a cousin and competitor in the restaurant business. It was a tumultuous turnover that treated Crescent City onlookers to several contentious confrontations in kitchens and courtrooms. Brennan's Inc. was evicted from the building in June. The restaurant was closed. Now, the building is under renovation by Ralph Brennan, who plans to open a new restaurant at the site.

Got all that? Though Cousin Ralph (a nickname that really gives this whole saga a real old-money vibe) was able to acquire the French Quarter property, he couldn't get his hands on some pretty important Brennan's branding tools: the Brennan's name, the rooster logo, and the restaurant's recipe anthology. Slack explained that the Brennan's identity is, with the bankruptcy sell-off looming, in jeopardy; the Brennan's New Orleanians know may soon cease to exist.

One of Pip Brennan's lawyers, Vic Welsh, confirmed that the company was in bankruptcy, adding that the company assets (including an undetermined amount of millions in payout money from BP oil spill) aren't real enough to stave off the sell-off. Welsh also claimed that Ted Brennan owes the company $4.1 million in unpaid loans.

Ted and Bridgette, meanwhile, blame President Pip for not contesting the bankruptcy in court (McCash was careful to note that Slack's insinuation-riddled statement that "since Pip was a party to an unresolved lawsuit against Brennan's Inc. when Ted was in charge, he could theoretically stand to receive a portion of the liquidation payout").

Of course, this wouldn't be "The Brennan's Saga" if there wasn't yet another twist—an outstanding lawsuit could still wrest control of the company out of Pip's hands and give it to Ted and Bridgette, in which case Brennan's Inc. may be somehow able to gather its druthers, reinvest, and open Retro Brennan's in a new location. And don't even start about Brennan's reported treasure trove of expensive wines, which, true to the soap opera-y nature of this whole story, remains shrouded in secrecy.

· Brennan's Inc., former owner of landmark restaurant, is bankrupt [NOLA.com]

· The Brennan's Saga [-ENOLA-]

Brennan's

417 Royal Street, New Orleans, La 70130

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