By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
A Hermitage restaurant has sued its landlord alleging the owner of Hermitage Square Plaza is breaking the lease with Hot Head Burritos by allowing another tenant to operate a restaurant.
Quality Restaurants LLC operates a Hot Head Burritos restaurant at 3362 E. State St. in Hermitage Square, which is owned by Hermitage Development Co. Inc.
In its motion for injunction filed Friday, Quality said its lease states that Hermitage Development will not lease its units between Verizon and Starbucks “to any restaurant.”
Quality said Yumberries Frozen Yogurt LLC, Hot Head’s next door neighbor “is now operating a restaurant” selling sandwiches, salads and delicatessen type meals.
The landlord has contacted Yumberries about the alleged lease violation – Quality says Yumberries also is violating its own lease – but the landlord “has failed to take effective action to stop the operation of a restaurant.”
Quality alleged Yumberries now “directly competes” with Hot Head Burritos and has hurt Hot Head’s business.
Quality, based in Warren, Ohio, is seeking an injunction “directing Hermitage Development Co. Inc. to take all necessary actions to cause the sale of prepared meals, sandwiches and salads at the Yumberries location to cease.”
Quality is not seeking to stop Yumberries’ core business of self-serve frozen yogurt.
A voicemail message left Monday with an attorney who is named in the lease as representing Hermitage Development was not returned.
Robert Bishop, owner of Yumberries, said he is not operating a restaurant.
“We sell deli sandwiches four hours a day Monday through Friday,” he said.
The sandwiches do not compete with Hot Head Burritos’ Mexican fare, and the sales volume of the sandwiches is “light,” Bishop said.
Bishop acknowledged that his landlord has contacted him about Quality’s concerns, but said Yumberries is not violating its lease.
Yumberries’ main business is frozen desserts and only added the sandwiches to try to get people to come in during a slow period of the day, and attract workers and men.
“No frozen yogurt store sells just frozen yogurt,” he said.
“We know they’re not happy with it,” Bishop said, but called the court filing “sad.”
“I think most people with common sense would know the difference,” he said.