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Chef Tamara Murphy responds to the Melrose Project letter

We received this statement from Tamara Murphy tonight regarding the legal battle that has erupted between her planned Capitol Hill restaurant Terra Plata and the redevelopment project she had expected to call home. One note as preface: Liz Dunn, one of the developers behind the Melrose Project, told CHS yesterday that she did not know how the letter that brought this legal tussle into public light ended up taped to the front door of the space where Terra Plata was supposed to be housed. Here is Murphy’s statement sent to CHS:

I am very disheartened and saddened by this situation. I did not confirm that Terra Plata’s deal had fallen through. Because of the letter on the window I am forced to defend Terra Plata by posting our position on a blog. I take issue with the fact that the landlords, Scott Shapiro and Liz Dunn, have posted this letter with personal information for public view and comment, given our current legal situation.

 I sent you a photograph of the building’s communal meter bases that were installed in our leased space without our knowledge. What was to be a quaint wine cave and private dining room of 20+ seats is now a humming electrical room that serves the entire building. I have given these landlords every conceivable opportunity to remedy this situation and made repeated requests to sit down in hopes to work through this issue fairly and reasonably. Not only have my requests been denied, they have continually been met with even more unreasonable demands.

 I am truly saddened by the adversarial situation with the landlords of the Melrose Project. Liz Dunn is someone I respected and trusted and is a big part of the reason that Terra Plata landed at the Melrose project. I have to believe that if it were up to Liz we would not be in this situation.

 Terra Plata is firm in its position that we do not owe any rent or the amount on the letter posted. We will continue to exercise our rights under the lease. I have already invested a considerable amount of time, energy and money in this project.  It is heartbreaking to be in a situation where we are forced to spend our energy and resources defending our rights as tenants rather than building our restaurant. 

 Our goal has been to find a reasonable solution that enables us to move forward on a positive path in completing the Melrose Project. The landlords still have an opportunity to do the right thing.

 My desire has always been and continues to be, to open Terra Plata and contribute to the community and to the Melrose Project.

Tamara Murphy

Photo: Brasa Restaurant

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19 thoughts on “Chef Tamara Murphy responds to the Melrose Project letter

  1. How can I live without another over priced eating joint?

    I am becoming increasing fond of the Taco place, quick, good eating and no tip.

    Oh well … all my films won, every single one.

  2. Hey Tamara – didn’t know you were in town! Remember me? We were in highschool together back in ’78. You look great, better then I remember! I wish I held up as well – but – you know – my hair doesn’t grow like it used to ;) Anyway – hope you the best and that you can make your new venture work out.


  3. A while back I noted that whenever I began to read an outright abusive post, I would know that it was Mike With Curls. You wrote back assuring the world that you were a Nice Guy! With Curls! You were misunderstood! Didn’t mean to be a jerk! Just off the cuff!

    Uh. Nope. You’re just a jerk on this one. Someone must have smashed your dream when you were a kid and told you to get over it. You didn’t deserve to have your heart broken, buddy. And neither does anyone else.

  4. What is mean about observing The Hill does not need another very expensive eating place?

    Dear Jane … you have no sense of humor and suffer pangs from every little thing in life. Do you have any opinion of your own? Or just off the wall observations about motive?

    I have eaten dinner several times at places owned by this chef and was utterly not impressed, except by the price.

    And there is a reason the Taco place on Pine is so popular, families, old and young, nice, nice. Reasonable. Affordable. Need more.

    Jane – get in touch with humor, sarcasm, metaphor, hyperbole, and wit. Try some.

    Cheers, Myky

  5. This is heartbreaking for all of us food lovers. Tamara is a true diva in the culinary & sustainable farming world. Not only is it a blow for the melrose project, but for all of us if her restaurant isn’t able to open soon. I am hoping for a happy ending where I am enjoying her scrumptious food in her new place, where ever that is.

  6. Posting some kind of notice on the entrance to the Premises is required when issuing a notice of default or eviction notice. It was most likely posted by a process server hired by the developer’s law firm. Tamara shouldn’t regard it as a personal offense or attempt to defame her – it’s just one of the many notification requirements landlords have to adhere to when evicting a tenant.

  7. you don’t tip at the taco place? i’m sure you think red robin is a big night out, and if you’re feeling extra generous you probably tip a WHOLE 15%! stay out of the “over priced eating joint(s)” and the taco place while you’re at it. people will think we’re all cheap bastards.

  8. You would think the landlord would have had a clue how it got there if the letter that was “standard procedure” was posted by their law firm. I understand this tenant has not been given access to their space. Is it standard procedure to evict a tenant from premises that they are not allowed to be in their space? It sounds like Tamara is getting the raw end of this deal, regardless of standard legalities.

  9. Successful business relationships require listening on both sides. That is clearly not happening here. There is most likely another motive here – the oldest motive of all. MONEY. I would bet the landlords want it and need it so they will try to kick out Tamara and look for another tenant who will pay more. Maybe they want Starbucks. So the story goes: when they say its not about the money…its about the money. Good for Tamara – she is standing up for what she believes is right. The landlords? Think about the word…….Land Lords!!!!!

  10. The ill cooperation and communication of the developers of this project has caused the potential of Tamara Murphy’s newest establishment from being experienced by those in the area.
    I will state that I do know Tamara personally; some may say that my opinion is biased and that is probably true. However, as a result of knowing her, I can speak of Tamara in ways that her humble self would not even mumble. Giving is a word that immediately comes to mind. Tamara is giving of herself, her time and energy, resources, and knowledge. She is a quiet, yet strong force among her peers. And peers, as far as I can see from Tamara, are not just those chefs and people that are ‘of the same’ in the industry but all those that contribute and surround her. Murphy is a huge supporter and admirer of our farmers that supply us with their goods. As a member of the Phinney/Greenwood community, we have seen the literal and figurative fruit of Tamera’s passion through her involvement in starting our community’s weekly farmers market. Never have I or could I imagine doubting Tamera’s integrity personally and that integrity just spills over into her business endeavors, as well. I have confidence that those who have done business with her would speak the same and that this current situation with the Melrose Project is not a reflection of Tamara Murphy or her business associates. It is a true loss for this development to lose the presence of Tamara and Terra Plata. May the next location be graced and embrace Tamara and her ongoing contributions to the community.

  11. It is kinda amazing that C. Hill has managed to eat all these years, high density neighborhood for decades, without Tamara and her overpriced food.

    Really folks, there is plenty of space for rent that high priced food joints can afford, look at Poppy, north Bwy. Doing fine.

    Maybe Tamara’s fan club should just help her scout another location and MOVE ON?

  12. DEFENSE – the abusive post about tipping is off the wall.

    First, I have never been in a Red Robin … why is that an insult?

    Second, I am the most generous tipper on the Hill. When I have some drinks or eat out, famed for the ten or twenty, or fifty, far more than 99 per cent of the patrons.

    You are silly and almost abusive. By the way, the Taco place is counter service, so I leave change, a buck or two – don’t think of that as tipping per se.

    Michael with Snarl – I DO tip generously.

  13. There are probably other issues and at first it might seem trite to complain about the electrical panels but it is such a hassle to be the business who has to shoulder all that equipment. Meter readers need to get in on a regular basis when you’re closed. If any other business needs service for any reason, you are the one who has to make arrangements with the power company – and there are a lot of businesses here.
    Its just something that should have been ironed out ahead of time or given some sort of compensation for.