MANCHESTER, NH – SoHo Bistro & Lounge on Old Granite Street will reopen later this week after being evicted last Saturday in a dispute with its landlord.
Business owner Chloe Sowers asked a district court judge last week to vacate the eviction. It was granted after she defaulted by failing to respond. Sowers, in documents on file in 9th Circuit Court – Manchester District Division, said she was unaware of the eviction proceeding.
On Tuesday, attorney Kyle MacDonald, representing landlord Old Granite Street Holdings LLC, filed a motion saying the “parties have reached a resolution of their differences that resolves the issues in this case and the parties to this case agree to the nonsuiting of this case, as there is no further relief sought in this matter.”
Wednesday morning, three yellow eviction notices posted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday remained on SoHo’s doors.
They said: “WARNING These premises have been conveyed to the owner/agent under NH RSA 527:13. Any person entering without authorization shall be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.” RSA 527:13 is the statute governing evictions.
An employee entering the restaurant/bar on Wednesday, who asked their name not be published, said Sowers had reached an agreement with the landlord and the establishment will reopen on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023.
On SoHo’s Facebook page, however, a post read “Back Like we never left,” with an opening date of Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
According to court documents, Old Granite Street Holdings LLC, 497 Hooksett Road, #394, is the landlord. Thomas Svoleantopoulos is the manager, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.
Old Granite Street sought to evict SoHo, which operates under SoHo Hospitality LLC, because of an insurance issue. Sowers, in court documents, said in the spring of 2023 Old Granite delivered in person an eviction notice regarding an alleged breach of lease conditions.
The two parties worked together to resolve the issue, Sowers said, and she believed it had been resolved since there was no further communication from the landlord. She said she was unaware there was a landlord-tenant action until she received a default notice on Aug. 24, 2023, according to the court filing.
SoHo, she said, never received a copy of the landlord-tenant writ of possession (eviction notice). She believes the writ was served on her register agent Incorp Services of Goffstown, who she said never made her aware of the court proceeding.
Sowers said she had procured insurance that she believed adequately addressed the lease condition.
The employee said Sowers had insurance but the insurance company canceled the policy.
“What happened is the insurance company dropped our policy because it said some of the prices we were advertising for liquor were too low. They said by selling alcohol too inexpensively, people were more likely to get drunk. That’s how I understand it,” they said.
So, the employee said Sowers tried to find insurance. They said it took a few days but she obtained other insurance coverage.
The landlord, however, maintained the policy she obtained was not adequate. The landlord, they said, wanted her to have assault and battery and liquor liability insurance.
“I guess she didn’t have those but according to the insurance agent what she had was sufficient,” they said.
For a long time, he said the business was having a rough go of it. They said, however, business finally picked up and SoHo was doing great. “When we got evicted, it was quite the shock,” they said. “It’s been a stressful week.”
In the end, the two parties worked out a settlement, with Sowers getting the additional insurance coverage, the employee said. The lease also was renegotiated and “she’s paying more in rent to resolve the situation,” the employee said.
The employee is hoping that their patrons will return and things will return to normal.
Manchester Ink Link reached out to Sowers and Attorney McDonald for comment but as of publication have not heard back.