Co-founder of vegan fast-casual chain chef Chloe Coscarelli is mourning the loss of the company she founded, but said it’s probably “for the best” as it will bring to an end a years-long legal saga, she wrote last week.
“As you’ve probably heard by now, the By Chloe era has come to an end—an outcome that is both sad and, if I’m being totally honest, probably for the best,” Coscarelli wrote last week on Facebook.
“While the world has been devouring cheerfully branded food adorned with my name, I’ve been in court fighting to regain it.”
Coscarelli was forced out of the plant-based chain that bears her name in 2017, after the company that operated By Chloe, ESquared Hospitality, took on new investors without Coscarelli’s approval, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.
In a 2016 suit, Coscarelli’s attorney accused ESquared and its executives of “improperly seizing control” of the company and “forcing out the very chef whose name, likeness and culinary techniques represent all of the company’s value.”
That suit sparked a years-long legal back-and-forth that eventually saw Coscarelli’s ownership of the company reinstated.
“The truth is that By Chloe hasn’t actually been by Chloe since 2017, when I was forcibly (and wrongfully) removed by my former business partner,” she wrote on Facebook last week. “Since then, I’ve been ensnared in a years-long legal battle that was equal parts gut-wrenching as it was vindicating.”
Since having her ownership reinstated, she said, “investors nosedived the company into bankruptcy in an effort to wipe out my equity and reclaim (or, as they prefer to say, ‘rebrand’) it as their own.”
The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in December 2020 and was acquired by a consortium of investors that already had stakes in the company, including Bain Capital Double Impact Fund, in March.
A judge ruled that the new company use the “Chloe” branding in the company’s relaunch, so it will use the name “Beatnic” in a nod to the original company’s flagship in Greenwich Village, Beatnic president Catey Mark Meyers told Fortune.
Despite the By Chloe coming to an end, Coscarelli noted that the chain played a role in popularizing veganism and the now-flourishing meat-alternative industry.
“When By Chloe first opened its doors, many still considered veganism to be fringe,” she said. “Six years later, Target has their own in-house brand of plant-based offerings and you can order a vegan whopper at Burger King.”
“If my little restaurant contributed to even an ounce of this surge in popularity, I’d consider the whole experience a victory.”
Coscarelli and representatives for Beatnic did not return The Post’s request for comment.