Steakhouse started by 'Top Chef' star going to auction

Buildings that house Prime Steakhouse in Fells Point face foreclosure

August 09, 2010|By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

The buildings that house Prime Steakhouse, the Fells Point restaurant that chef Timothy Dean launched in February as he was about to compete on television's "Top Chef," are to be sold at a bank foreclosure auction next month.

The properties, at 1717, 1719 and 1721 Eastern Avenue, are scheduled to be sold Sept. 16, according to a listing on Jonathan Melnick Auctioneers' website.

The buildings are owned by MTD Realty LLC, which Dean controls, his attorney, Stephen Prevas, has said.

Dean could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Dean had hoped an appearance on "Top Chef" would get his initially charmed career back on track. In the space of just a few years, he'd risen from dishwasher to Jean-Louis Palladin protégé and Washington restaurateur. But then came multiple setbacks.

His Washington restaurant closed, as did his Baltimore-based Timothy Dean Bistro and T.D. Lounge, which operated in the same Eastern Avenue location as Prime Steakhouse. A bank won a $1.3 million judgment against Dean and his real estate company in May. Days later, T.D. Bistro Inc., which had owned the bistro and lounge, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing assets of $0 to $50,000 and liabilities between $100,001 and $500,000. The list of creditors holding the largest unsecured claims started with Dean himself; MTD Realty was owed $50,000, according to the filing.

In July, Dean filed an $8 million lawsuit against the developer of National Harbor in Prince George's County, claiming fraud and breach of contract over an aborted restaurant venture there.

In a "Top Chef" episode that aired about a week after that lawsuit was filed, Dean was eliminated from the reality TV cooking show. Dean was just the sixth contestant to be ousted from a field of 17 competing this season in Washington.

In an interview after his "Top Chef" defeat, Dean said the show had given a boost to Prime. He also said he had plans to open another Prime location at Boulevard at the Capital Centre in Largo, in the 7,000-square-foot space that previously housed The Sideline, a now-closed restaurant owned by former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington.

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