The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Nationals cut ties with chef Mike Isabella due to sexual harassment allegations

Mike Isabella in 2015. (Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

The Nationals parted ways with Mike Isabella in the wake of news that the celebrity chef and four of his business partners were named in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed Monday by a former top manager at his company, Mike Isabella Concepts.

“Due to the allegations that came to light this week, we have decided to end our partnership with Mike Isabella,” a Nationals spokeswoman said in a statement to The Washington Post.

The team is exploring options for what will replace Isabella’s three vacated outposts, including G Sandwich, at Nationals Park.

In the lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court, Chloe Caras alleges Isabella and his partners commented on the size of her buttocks and touched her without permission, The Post reported on Monday. Isabella and his partners denied the allegations.

After sexual harassment allegations, can Mike Isabella still get a top industry award?

“Simply put, the allegations of an unwelcoming or hostile work atmosphere are false,” Isabella, his partners and his company told The Post in a statement prepared by the Bascietto & Bregman law firm. “Harassment, discrimination, bullying, abuse, or unequal treatment of any kind whatsoever are not tolerated at MIC.”

An outpost of G, Isabella’s Italian-style sandwich shop, opened at Nationals Park behind Section 136 in 2014. Two years later, the Nationals unveiled two other Isabella concepts — the Greek-themed Kapnos at the Park, and Catchfly, which offers Southern-style cuisine — behind Section 301. None of those concessions stands will be back this season.

The Nationals will host their annual ballpark tour for media on Monday.

Meanwhile, other businesses and organizations with ties to Isabella are still deciding how to respond to the allegations. The chef’s Arroz eatery was nominated for best new restaurant, and G, which has a location on 14th Street NW, is up for a favorite fast bites award at the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington RAMMY awards in June. RAMW President Kathy Hollinger issued the following statement to The Post when asked if Isabella is still eligible for those awards:

“Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington condemns harassment of any kind. The RAMMYS judges panel and the board of directors are separately discussing the judges’ evaluation criteria as it pertains to RAMW’s awards programs moving forward. Given the amount of care and sensitivity that goes into nominating a RAMMYS finalist, the panel will give that same level of input and consideration into making any changes. As this is not just one person’s decision, all of the entities involved will take the coming days to discuss how to best address these very serious allegations.”

On Tuesday, Washingtonian reported that Isabella’s longtime publicist, Jennifer Resick Williams, removed Isabella’s name from her company’s website.

Read more on the Nationals:

Nats’ Sean Doolittle went through the seven stages of grief during Virginia’s loss to UMBC

Sports Illustrated predicts the Nationals will beat the Yankees in the World Series

‘The first spring break of my life’: Jayson Werth, still unemployed, takes in son’s game

Both Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals insist he’s healthy. So why is he missing games?