Downtown Burbank restaurant Elephant Bar quickly and quietly went out of business recently, along with more than a dozen other locations, as its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The restaurant was in business at First Street and Olive Avenue for about 12 years and was a good tenant that always paid rent on time, so it’s closure less than two weeks ago was a sudden departure, according to the building’s owners.
“I think they had a 15-year lease,” said Michael Cusumano, co-owner of Cusumano Real Estate Group. “They had some time to go on that they pretty much walked away from.”
Elephant Bar’s parent company, S.B. Restaurant Co., filed for bankruptcy at a Santa Ana courthouse on June 16 and has closed 16 locations for the time being and will continue to operate 29 restaurants.
The company also filed a motion seeking approval for a $3.3-million “debtor-in-possession” financing to allow it to continue operating during the bankruptcy protection hearings. A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a reorganization plan to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.
As for the Burbank location, Cusumano said there is no shortage of interest from prospective tenants in the restaurant industry. He said his office is getting calls daily asking about the property, though no deal has been finalized yet.
“We really want to make sure we get the very best operator … We want to make sure we get the best fit,” Cusumano said. “What we’re really looking for is the best concept.”
The former Elephant Bar location is about 7,000 square feet with a patio area and a full bar.
The restaurant was known for its jungle décor, but that may change once a new tenant signs a lease.
“We’ve got a tremendous amount of flexibility, so we can meet the needs of a wide variety of restaurant uses and applications on that site,” Cusumano said.
He would not comment on what potential rent prices might be or how much Elephant Bar was paying monthly because of conditions in its lease.
Joy Forbes, community development director for the city, said the corner where Elephant Bar was located is a prominent intersection.
She said the city had representatives at a recent restaurant convention in Las Vegas, and several companies expressed interest in taking over the Elephant Bar spot, so she helped them get in touch with Cusumano.
“I’m confident that we’re going to be able to find a tenant who’s interested in that space fairly quickly,” Forbes said.
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