Mike Isabella has a new management deal with Bandolero

April 18, 2013

Washington City Paper food editor Jessica Sidman was the first reporter to publicly question chef Mike Isabella's role in Bandolero, the Mexican-inspired eatery in Georgetown owned by Jonathan Umbel.

Mike Isabella has restructured his management deal to give him more time to devote to his own restaurants. (Matt McClain for The Washington Post)
Mike Isabella has restructured his management deal to give him more time to devote to his own restaurants. (Matt McClain for The Washington Post)

Sidman reported that Isabella continues to have a management contract with Umbel and Bandolero, even as the restaurant and owner -- a restaurateur with a decidedly checkered past -- face eviction proceedings. Despite this, the rumors continue to circulate in the restaurant community that Isabella has formally cut off all business relations with Bandolero and Umbel.

I checked in with Jennifer Resick Williams, Isabella's publicist, and she reiterated that Isabella has a management contract with Bandolero. But she also clarified that the Graffiato chef, who is working on three new restaurants, has restructured his management deal. Williams was not at liberty to discuss the new deal but forwarded this statement from the celebrity chef:

"I am still involved with Bandolero, but the terms of my contract have changed to allow me more time and flexibility to focus on Graffiato and my new restaurant projects, Kapnos, G, and G GrabandGo."

It would seem that much of the speculation about Isabella's involvement with Bandolero came during the period when he was restructuring his deal, but at no time did the chef leave the restaurant and return, his publicist confirms.

The Greek-inspired Kapnos (where Isabella and team will wood-smoke whole animals) and neighboring G (a twin-concept operation selling soup and sandwiches by day and a tasting menu at night) are expected to open in late spring at 2201 14th St. NW. The New Jersey-based G GrabandGo should open its doors in May.

Further reading:

* Mike Isabella announces (surprise!) two new restaurants

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires ingesting more calories than a draft horse.
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