Bryan Voltaggio owes Cordish Cos. $3.1 million for shuttered Baltimore restaurants, court rules

Bryan Voltaggio makes sauce for ricotta gnocci pasta in the kitchen of his restaurant Aggio at Power Plant Live in this 2014 file photo.
Bryan Voltaggio makes sauce for ricotta gnocci pasta in the kitchen of his restaurant Aggio at Power Plant Live in this 2014 file photo.(Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore judges have ruled that celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio owes more than $3.1 million to affiliates of The Cordish Cos. for his two shuttered Baltimore restaurants, according to court documents.

In two separate cases filed last year by the Cordish affiliates, Baltimore circuit judges ruled the Frederick-based restaurateur and his business partner Hilda Staples owe several million dollars in unpaid rent and outstanding payments on promissory notes for Family Meal and Aggio, restaurants his group operated for several years in the Inner Harbor.


The Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. owns the Power Plant Live and Power Plant buildings that housed Aggio and Family Meal, respectively.

Aggio opened in 2014 serving Italian fare. It was soon followed by Family Meal, a modern diner-style destination for comfort food, in 2015.


Family Meal, Bryan Voltaggio's modern diner at the Inner Harbor, has closed its doors after less than two years in business. 

Family Meal stopped paying rent in December 2015 and closed in August 2016. The restaurateurs stopped making rent payments on Aggio as of April 29, 2016, according to court documents — about two years before closing the restaurant in March 2018.

Both spaces remain empty.

Voltaggio rose to prominence in 2009 as the runner-up to his brother, Michael Voltaggio, on the sixth season of “Top Chef,” the cooking competition show on the Bravo cable television channel. Bryan Voltaggio subsequently opened a number of other restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

A number of those have closed, but his Volt and another Family Meal remain open in Frederick. The Voltaggio brothers also operate the Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse at the MGM National Harbor casino.

The Cordish affiliates sued in October 2017.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John Nugent recently ruled that FM Bmore, the entity behind Family Meal, Voltaggio and his business partner Hilda Staples owed about $2.07 million to Cordish Power Plant Number Two LLC — including $1.76 million in unpaid rent and liquidated damages, $297,428 on a promissory note for the space and $15,000 in attorneys’ fees, court records show.

And Judge Robert Taylor Jr. ruled Water Street Restaurant Management LLC, the entity behind Aggio, Staples and Voltaggio owed Cordish affiliate Thirty-Four Marketplace LLC $1.08 million — $773,301 in unpaid rent and liquidated damages and $307,399 for its promissory note, according to court records.

The judgments against Staples, named in court documents as Hilda Karamouz, were stayed after she filed for bankruptcy in October.

Irving Walker, an attorney representing Cordish Power Plant Number Two in the Family Meal case, and Brianne Lansinger, who represented Cordish affiliate Thirty-Four Marketplace in the case against Aggio, declined to comment.

Jeffrey Bowman, who represented Voltaggio in both cases, could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio and his business partner Hilda Staples are denying allegations from two former cooks who say they weren't paid overtime while they worked at Voltaggio's restaurants.

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