Uncertainty hangs over Sarcoa events
A Friday night wedding and other weekend events were going ahead as planned at Sarcoa after the Hamilton Waterfront Trust terminated the harbourfront patio and eatery’s 10-year sublease.
But the outcome is not so clear for future bookings at the Discovery Drive location.
“One day at a time,” Sarcoa’s lawyer, Konstantine Ketsetzis, said Friday. “We’re hopeful that they will continue without interruption.”
Re-entry to the restaurant was permitted Friday after a notice of termination was posted on its locked doors Thursday morning for “major and escalating protracted breaches of the sublease.”
There were signs of life just before the Friday night wedding was scheduled to take place, with staff putting
out tables and chairs on the patio and people milling about inside.
JEM Hospitality Group, which handles event bookings at the eatery, posted to Facebook Friday that it’s meeting with the trust Monday to talk about “continuing our very successful operating on site.”
Trust executive director Werner Plessl said Friday it’s “trying to work with people that have some bookings.”
Brydie Huffman is one of those people. The 32-year-old bride’s big day is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend at Sarcoa, but she’s not convinced this will happen.
“We’re three months out,” she said. “I have condiments in my fridge older than that.”
Huffman said she reached out to event staff after hearing the news about Sarcoa and as of Friday afternoon, had still not heard back.
One hundred and fifty invitations, including to family in England, have been sent out, and a $2,000 deposit on the space has already been put down.
“I feel so screwed,” she said. “To find out as a client that this special day that you’ve been planning for over a year is in jeopardy … it’s really upsetting.”
Huffman said she called around to a handful of other local venues Friday but was told they were all booked for that weekend.
“I’m at the point where, by early next week, I’m probably going to have to postpone the wedding,” she said. “It’s too short to pull it off now.”
The notice of termination alleges Sarcoa owes more than $226,072.68 in rent and breached other conditions of the sublease, such as failing to be open during the same hours and days as other restaurants, operating a banquet hall on more than an occasional basis and sharing the premises with JEM Hospitality Group.
Ketsetzis said his client denies the allegations.
The harbourfront eatery has been locked in a $15-million legal battle with the trust, its sublandlord, and the city since late 2015 for preventing it from throwing patio parties with amplified music.
Co-owner Sam Destro told The Spectator this spring Sarcoa was shifting its focus to special events to stay afloat after running into bylaw trouble over noise complaints.
The waterfront trust board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss options for the space.
Sarcoa’s lawyer says his client hopes to continue operating the eatery.