Creperie's Reopening Delayed by Dispute
Its door closed by a dispute between the two co-owners, One Arrow Street Crepes may not reopen before its student customers head home for the summer, according to co-owner James Murray.
Murray said that he and the other owner of the restaurant, Redha Betrouni, have been involved for weeks in "very sensitive negotiations" to settle a disagreement about who should own the shop.
The shop, which opened Jan. 1, originally closed to accommodate its overwhelming success. Murray said he and Betrouni decided to close April 10 for over two weeks in order to restructure and add equipment.
But two days before the shop was scheduled to reopen on April 29, Murray said Betrouni stopped work and refused to open the store until a buyout agreement was reached.
Murray said Betrouni's demand was completely unexpected.
"Redha's decision surprised me because we always knew we'd find success as a team--more immediately perhaps than if we had gone off on our own," Murray said.
In the days following One Arrow Street Crepes' scheduled reopening, Murray said Betrouni made an offer to buy Murray out of the corporation.
Murray said that because his partner was not considering any other option, he entered into buyout negotiations with him.
But over the next 10 days, Murray said he found Betrouni's offer unacceptable based on the current market value of the restaurant as assessed by an outside firm.
"When I realized that Redha was unwilling to negotiate further, I began to consider buying him out," Murray said.
However, Murray said that two hours before a scheduled meeting with Betrouni and both men's lawyers on May 18, he received a phone call from Betrouni's attorney saying the deal was off.
According to Murray, when he arrived at the shop that afternoon, he "discovered the crepe burners and various corporate inventory had been taken by Redha with no authorization."
The negotiations underway now mostly concern when the shop can reopen, but Murray said that there are many issues to be taken into consideration before all the problems can be worked out.
"Through all the troubles that we as business partners have had, I have felt a duty to the people in this neighborhood to continue to serve great food in great company at this funky little place," Murray said.
Many Harvard students--who had packed the restaurant since its opening--said yesterday that they will be glad to see the place up and running again.
"They're phenomenal. I've been thinking about writing [the owners] a letter saying 'we miss you...we love you--please come back by June 10," said Adams House resident Lara Fox '99. "It could totally be like the Peach Pit if it would just stay open."
But with just a week left before many Harvard students leave Cambridge, Murray was unable to say whether the disagreements about ownership will be resolved by then.
"I'm doing my very best to open the shop up as soon as I can," he said.
Neither Betrouni nor his lawyer could be reached for comment yesterday.