Heart N’ Soul Closes, But Will Get CPR

photo-40Michael Herman Muff of Mama’s Bar.

Six-week-old Heart N’ Soul closed yesterday with a note on the door claiming the chef “had a nervous breakdown.”

Today, Richard Freedman, the owner of the restaurant and its building on East Third Street, said the southern spot would reopen in a week and a half. “His food was good,” Mr. Freedman said of chef David Conn. “It turns out he was just saying wacky things. He gave us so many excuses why he couldn’t get a burger over to the bar. Last night he skipped a dinner for 50 and I had to give them a big tab at the bar next door.”

The general manager of Mama’s Bar, who goes by the name of Muff, said Mr. Conn “saw things different than anyone else” and added that “he was not in reality.”

“I don’t want to do the he-said-she said,” Mr. Freedman added with a chuckle.

The Local saw Mr. Freedman, the landlord who gave Mama’s Food Shop the boot, in front of Mama’s Bar a few weeks ago appearing to show the space to the operators of a few downtown cocktail lounges. Despite this, Mr. Freedman insisted the bar was not for sale. “I’ve owned it for 10 years and the business does very well,” he said.

Update: David Conn has this to say about his departure.

Chefs and owners are like oil and water. Richard Freeman, the owner of Heart n Soul began panicking about lack of business after 3 week (exacerbated by the fact that an old noise complaint from his bar postponed his liquor license). He had not advertised, marketed, nor promoted Heart n Soul. He was greatly angered that I took it upon myself to take interviews. He began cutting my staff–my manager and sous left solid jobs to work for me. Then he told me I needed to figure how to open for breakfast and lunch. He was desperate. I left that night, seeing that he would rather compromise what we set out to do, than stay the course and develop a brand. And yes, he had a dinner party the following night, but my vision had been blinded and I was sure it was terminal. There was never a conversation that might suggest I was angry, much less in the throes of a “nervous breakdown.” If I had $1600 to throw at a lawsuit, I would have pursued libel/defamation. Our reviews were great, Yelp was great….his patience, nonexistent.