The owner of Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis is suing a former tenant of the shopping center for nearly a half-million dollars following the tenant's abrupt closure last month.
Castleton Square LLC, a unit of locally based Simon Property Group Inc., filed the suit Jan. 25, alleging the Stir Crazy restaurant chain owes $471,031 in unpaid rent.
Castleton Square filed its suit three days after the chain closed its Asian restaurants at Castleton Square and Greenwood Park malls.
Employees complained that the restaurant closed without giving them notice.
Stir Crazy is part of Chicago-based Flat Out Crazy LLC, which operates Stir Crazy and Flat Top Grill locations in several states. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in New York on Jan. 25. It lists both assets and liabilities ranging between $10 million and $50 million.
“I think they’ve been having trouble nationally, and [the local closings are] a piece of the bigger puzzle,” said Steve Delaney, a restaurant expert at the locally based Sitehawk Retail Real Estate brokerage.
Flat Out Crazy referred comment on the Castleton mall lawsuit to Steven Lerner, a Cincinnati attorney who is handling the company's bankruptcy. Lerner did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Stir Crazy signed its last lease with Simon at Castleton Square Mall in June 2011 and stopped paying rent sometime after that. The mall owner declared the lease in default in November, according to the suit.
The Asian stir-fry restaurants opened locally nearly five years ago as part of a retailer reconfiguration that replaced the defunct L.S. Ayres department stores at the two malls. Both are owned by Simon.
In recent weeks, the chain also closed restaurants in Illinois and Minnesota.