Bolton Betrayal: A Deli’s final days with HBO's Veep and House of Cards - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Bolton Betrayal: A Deli’s final days with HBO’s Veep and House of Cards

A few weeks ago the cast and crew of HBO’s Veep were filming scenes in a tucked away Baltimore café on McMechen and Park called Bolton Deli. Shortly before that, Bolton Deli was catering for Netflix’s flagship original series House of Cards.

So clearly, the people in the know understood the food was quality. But even more impressive than keeping the cast and crews of hit TV shows well fed is their record with the regular folks of Bolton Hill.

For more than three years, the aptly named Bolton Deli has been making tasty sandwiches to a neighborhood with almost no casual dining options and winning a loyal fan base along the way. Unfortunately for people who enjoy both justice and good food made by friendly people, Bolton Deli’s doors will be closing at the end of the month.

bolton signThink of the situation as something akin to David vs. Goliath if Goliath had stolen David’s diary and used his secrets to financially ruin him and then out of spite, broke his knees so he couldn’t get to the battlefield. That may be a little colorful, farfetched, and also strange, but so are the events that led to the closing of this gem of a deli.

Nick Brooks co-founded the Bolton Deli as part of his senior thesis at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Together with his business partner and a few friends, Brooks completely refurbished a modest space on a shoestring budget, transforming a ramshackle florist shop into the skeleton of the Bolton Deli.

A recent graduate of art school with no prior business or food service experience, Brooks suddenly found himself at the mercy of a machine that played by a very different set of rules. There was no room for error in impressing upon the very put together movers and shakers of Bolton Hill, the splendidly dressed types who dwelled in million dollar row-homes and wielded that most important type of political power: local power.

Bolton Hill is a quirky and friendly mini-hamlet, but it’s extremely residential in character and feels like a place that doesn’t take too kindly to change. Eager to set up shop, he weathered various storms, including the dreary agony of zoning meetings, desperate accusations that his restaurant would single-handedly cause a rat problem in the neighborhood (spoiler alert: there was already a rat problem), and push back from an entrenched competitor possibly unwilling to relinquish its monopoly in Bolton Hill.

It was by no means easy (opening a restaurant in the best of circumstances isn’t easy), but Brooks and the Bolton Deli triumphed over legal minutia and mayhem and debuted one of the best damn spots in Baltimore. In other words, in a strange reversal, the good guys actually won.

handdrawn sandwich boardI remember my first encounter with Bolton Deli. I was navigating blocks through the pixels of Google Street View, trying to scout out my future home from three thousand miles away. It seemed that Bolton Hill was residential to the hilt, without much in the way of the stuff I really needed: comic book stores, Arby’s, basketball courts.

There was a little deli though, and it appeared to be walking distance from my new front door. Since sandwiches are nearly my favorite food this was good news indeed. I expected something decent, but found something that was actually really great.

The dining room is brightly lit and cheery, with nary a bad vibe to be found no matter the time of day or amount of customers. Music roars softly from speakers, eclectic noise jams and folksy twang alike. There’s a nice little collection of various paper money from around the world posted to the wall behind the register (my eyes usually gravitate to Chairman Mao’s smiling mug).

You can tell artists run the place, because the menu is a chalky masterpiece, as is its slightly smaller compatriot, the ever-changing Specials Menu. There’s always a good book on hand to snatch from the overcrowded shelf, whether it be something about the rivers of Trans-Jordan or some tome about dog breeding or even a Hemingway novel that seems especially appropriate over coffee.

If you’re into milkshakes, theirs are famous. If you like live music, they practically have a house band on the weekend during the sunnier months, usually rambunctious jazz that was fun and festive, and only annoying if I was trying to sleep past noon. Perhaps in a more metropolitan digs like Mount Vernon or Federal Hill or Fells Point this place could get swallowed up or looked over, but to us it was a secret treasure.

interior boltonFor over a year we would pop in for food or coffee. It seemed like MICA students or recent graduates exclusively ran the place and though they were young and cool, I detected no hint of coffee shop elitism. My fiancée had a hard time existing without their bagels with humus, and I made it my mission to try as many of their sandwiches without cheese that I could. I did decently.

For more than three years, Brooks learned the ropes in real-time as his brainchild proved a success and developed into a neighborhood staple. Starting with almost nothing, Brooks and his partners invested every bit of their earnings and put it right back into the business.

It was a source of pride, a visible badge of plucky business acumen from a somewhat unlikely source: an art student who simply worked his proverbial tail off. So when it came time for Brooks to consider moving on, it was of the utmost importance that he pass the torch to someone he could trust, perhaps another MICA alumni or another like-minded member of the Bolton Hill community. The future of the deli was therefore an important thing to secure.

So with his intent to sell, Brooks sought guidance from MICA, and more specifically the (then) Director of Alumni Relations. The Director showed immediate interest and assured Brooks he would help him find a buyer, and that enthusiasm morphed into a desire to buy the place himself upon his upcoming retirement from MICA.

Brooks proceeded to share the “guts” of his business, his financials, his operating manual, and even an introduction to the owner of the property. This information was shared in absolute confidence. There was a brief moment of excitement; Brooks believed he had found a buyer, a tacitly MICA approved torchbearer who seemed inclined to keep the spirit of the place alive. However the initial enthusiasm of the sale seemed to diminish after the Director of Alumni Relations had a quiet word with his accountant. Slowly contact fizzled to a halt. Through impersonal emails, communication went nowhere and Brooks assumed that he had simply decided to pass on the sale. Which would have been fine, if that was the end of it.

Shortly after, Brooks was notified of another potential nightmare: new owners had stealthily bought the building. What this meant for the tenants was unknown, but a clandestine sale of an unlisted property was not a favorable omen. Seeking answers, Brooks attempted to make contact with the new landlords only to discover some modern day skullduggery. And who was the mysterious buyer of the building?

If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes or police procedurals or have a dark turn of mind, it’s all pretty clear. Using that trove of information shared in absolute confidence (financials, asking price, operating manual, as well as contact with the owner of the property!) the former Director of Alumni Relations had brought this proposition to his partner, and his partner’s LLC legally bought the building. Yes, legally. Morally disgusting, but perfectly legal, the age old mitigating factor!

The former Director and his partner agreed to a face-to-face with Brooks. He prefaced the get together with the ominous declaration, “This isn’t going to be a good meeting.”

That one bit of straight-talk proved true, as the man who was very recently Director of Alumni Relations (!) and his partner declared their intent to evict Brooks and the Bolton Deli by the end of the year (mere months away), with zero compensation. The stated plan was to “modernize” the property, most likely to increase rent for the tenants, and to perhaps open their own café.

Facing a possible calamity, Brooks took his case directly to MICA. Their support should have been a given. He was after all a graduate of MICA and an eager employer of MICA students past and present. Not only that, his deli was the only off-campus dining option that accepted MICA flex-dollars. He was tied to the school in several indisputable ways. And yet, when Brooks made his appeal to force MICA’s hand in an attempt to provoke both a show of public support and to exercise the authority and responsibility the situation demanded of them they opted to pass the buck and wash their hands of the situation.

The man who was attempting to near literally rob Nick Brooks of his business had been employed extremely recently by the college for the express purpose of ensuring positive relations with students and supporting them post graduation. This was of little consequence to the administration, and they replied with mealy-mouthed half-sympathy, coupled with a boilerplate statement of neutrality. Sorry man, very unfortunate, but we’re going to stay out of this.

It is a sinister situation, made all the more terrible by the armor of devious legitimacy. Is the lesson here simply never trust anyone? Not quite, but that feels like the major takeaway here. It shouldn’t be remotely legal for a former administrator using confidential information to so cynically sabotage a business built from the ground up by the students he was so recently in charge of helping.

After MICA sent him away with no apparent recourse, Brooks began the process of liquidating his assets for pocket change. That is the situation as of now. Sadly, the time to actually save Bolton Deli appears to have very quietly passed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to make a righteous fuss, to try and force MICA to take a stand because they can’t shut their ears to hundreds and hundreds of enraged alumni and neighborhood supporters. Plaster the area with flyers, art, letters and phone calls to MICA and to the Bolton Hill business community. Be annoying, be enraged, and be persistent. It’s worthwhile to throw a fit over something like this.

When I met with Nick Brooks at the deli to talk to him about the situation, he wasn’t vengeful or full of more than justified anger. He recounted the events in an almost detached tone, clearly unhappy, but resilient. It was important for Brooks that people know that the Bolton Deli didn’t fail because they were a bunch of neophytes who couldn’t run a business, or pay their rent on time, or manage to make a profit, or any number of reasons that small cafes usually go under.

Other than the early struggles with the zoning board and the dismal ending, he expressed pride in what he and the Bolton Deli managed to accomplish. For three and a half years the Bolton Deli gave this quiet neighborhood everything it had, from cozy brick accented respite from the wind and snow, to iced coffee on a hellishly humid day, to the dependably delicious sandwiches regardless of unkind weather. It fought to exist and then it damn well did it, and did it brilliantly.

Bolton Deli’s doors are closing for Christmas. They won’t be opening again.

Editor’s Note: We reached out to the former Director of Alumni relations before the piece ran and heard nothing. Since the article ran, we have tweeted at him and also tracked down a more current email and have invited him to tell his version of events. We are waiting and hoping for a response.

 

 

 





About the author

Alex Siquig

Alex Siquig is a writer who recently left the San Francisco Bay Area for the lovely streets of Baltimore. His work has been published in Thought Catalog, Lubricated, Urban Image Magazine, and he is the co-creator of the web-comic Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum, which finished second place in the Washington Post's Best Web-Comic of 2011. He lives with two fine cats and a fine woman. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY

53 Comments

  1. Anonymous Jones Falls coward says:

    I agree that all of this sounds aweful, if true, and I’m very sorry that
    the MICA grads lost their business. I hope Baltimore can benefit in
    another neighborhood from their now-strong retail experience.

    As
    for the article, though, I wish the author had done a bit more
    reporting and a bit less narrating. I assume that the author, like many
    young journalists I’ve worked with (which appears to be a charitable
    term in his case) is terrified to death of picking up the phone and
    /calling/ a source — especially an unfriendly source who might
    contradict his preselected narrative.

    I say this because he (or
    the editor — not sure which) uses the phrase “reached out” in the
    editor’s note, which is almost /always/ a cop-out for “sent a token
    email to an address that may or may not be functional, then forgot about
    it.” Anyone who has worked for more than a few months in the news
    business knows that most people near retirement age (a label applied to
    the near-retirement MICA official in this case) do not reply to emails
    from strangers — especially when they’re old addresses, as the
    “editor’s note” pretty strongly implies. As a journalist with the luxury
    of being on a non-daily deadline, you have the time to look up phone
    numbers. To do business registry lookups. To knock on doors. At the very
    least, if you did those things before the piece ran, please write that
    so it’s clear that the alleged MICA admin douche is indeed dodging questions.

    Do not fall back on saying that you “reached out.” Otherwise, your whole story becomes less credible, as others on here have noted.

    Anyhow,
    I hope that the deli owners can make it back from this and open another
    business in Baltimore. They sound like really good people. Maybe they’ll find the neighbors more welcoming
    to new businesses in Station North or Reservoir Hill, where occupancy in
    general is still on the mend.

    Reply
    • Still_cowardly says:

      … and sorry about the odd spacing. Disqus seems to do that to my text in firefox sometimes — I wish they would fix that bug.

      Reply
  2. ovzlekys says:

    Names please. If you’ve reached out and they won’t comment, please tell us their names. There’s no reason to hide this. The owners of the property are part of the public record. The partners of an LLC are public.

    Reply
  3. Shaithias says:

    Welcome to america run by the 1%. The 1% who ruin life for everybody else. The 1% who really deserve to be deported with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

    Reply
  4. alumni says:

    Sadly, we live in a morally bankrupt society where people consider this type of behavior ‘savvy’ as opposed to ‘sleazy’, which is what it truly is. Money over everything, including decency, respect and consideration of others. I hope it comes back to this guy, I really do. There’s a (dark, ugly) part of me that would be tempted to burn the place to the ground; enjoy your investment, mother fucker. I’m sure Nick will be fine. He has experience now.

    Reply
  5. tom robinson says:

    The recently added editor’s note is a lie. I spoke with the former director in question – no attempt was made to contact him prior to the publication of this article. Only after Mr. Siquig got bad reviews for his poorly written and biased piece did he miraculously get an accurate e-mail for the former director and ask for a comment. It’s amazing how much power people pretend to have when they can hide behind the internet. This type of hack journalism would NEVER be tolerated in a publication (on-line or in print) with any integrity.

    Reply
    • Baltimore Post-Examiner Staff
      BaltimorePostExaminer says:

      Mr. Robinson,

      Attempts were made to reach the former director prior to publication. He is still welcome to comment and tell his side of the story. The fact that we are running your comment here should reflect to you about the integrity of this publication.

      Reply
    • Alex Siquig
      Alex says:

      Mr, Robinson,

      There was nothing “miraculous” about the email situation here. The error was completely mine and I’ll own up to that. I did indeed send an email query to get his version of the events but my first email was sent to an incorrect address. Call it sloppy work (I wouldn’t argue), but it wasn’t a question of malice or sneakiness. In fact, we obviously would love to hear from the former director and not just because of the slight brouhaha in the comments section. If he wants to set the record straight about any of the events covered within the story that is his right. I’ve offered to step aside and let someone else from the BPE talk to him if he feels I won’t accurately reflect his views.

      Reply
    • AV says:

      Yes, the other side of the story. That should be a thrilling tale.

      Reply
  6. KD says:

    This is very sad. I used to work at MICA and was among the first customers of Bolton Deli. The food was quite good and generous. I also worked with the former Director of Alumni relations and thought he was a good fellow. I only knew Nick through the Deli but he seemed like a nice enough kid. It’s just sad that in such a close knit community that A) they could have found a way make it work for both parties and B) that this it has come down to such a public, nasty situation.

    Reply
  7. Fro says:

    He wanted to get rid of the deli but had nothing to sell. He didn’t own the building and probably had no lease. The deli has some kitchen equipment, some tables and chairs. I don’t understand what he expected to get besides someone to buy him restaurant stuff and he’s mad because no one wanted to?

    Reply
    • Craig says:

      I agree. The equipment is basically a panini maker, griddler, a deli cabinet, a slicer, and some furniture. There’s nothing more to it. Why would someone invest in what it already there when they can start over and make something better? A business man doesn’t care about sentiment, about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into a modest space, they are going to want more. That much is obvious.

      Reply
    • snarkycomments says:

      People sell restaurants all the time even if they don’t own the building. You’re buying a brand, recipes, connections to suppliers, customers, trained employees and managers.

      Reply
  8. E says:

    However distasteful and upsetting I find the series of events described in the piece, it *is* important to remember that this is an imperfect observer’s summary, characterizations, and conclusions.. with the other parties’ commentary (whether unoffered or unsolicited) conspicuously absent.

    A handful of takeaways if you assume the events occurred as described:

    Sloan’s earlier comments from this board are key. The covenant between a former student (alumnus) and a sitting director of alumni relations, if it is described anywhere, likely doesn’t contain much in the way of legal language. Regardless, the moment the relationship between the unnamed director and Mr. Brooks switched from Advisor:Advisee to Buyer:Seller, that covenant becomes irrelevant. This is where Brooks should have put up some pretty basic firewalls – a Letter of Intent with with non-disclosure and good-faith provisions, describing the parties negotiating.. be it an LLC or the individual.

    Even then, there’s no guarantee that things would not have panned out the same way. And again, we don’t have any details.. The “buyer” might have seen that a sweetheart lease agreement was about to expire, with rent about go up substantially. Any improvements made to the property would be forfeit if at some later point the owner of the building decided to sell it at some later point. “Why buy the business and assume that liability, when you could invest in the property and start your own business in the same space?” his accountant might have pointed out during their meeting.

    This city and every other is littered with the remains of thousands businesses that have been separated from their hardworking, well-meaning entrepreneur founders by circumstance, competition, or opportunity. Sometimes it’s a happy ending, and sometimes it isn’t. While there may be some more intimate conflict-of-interest overtones in this example from Bolton Hill, how is this different from what happens all over Baltimore? I’m not at all arguing that it’s not detestable or doesn’t suck for Mr. Brooks to see his hard work and investment evaporate so painfully, but it happens to businessmen everywhere, successful or not. Shake a fist at the Director (I know I may) but perhaps save one to shake at the owners of some of your favorite spots all around town. I’d wager few have origin stories with no losers at all.

    -MICA alum ’03

    Reply
    • Sloan says:

      Well put, E. Thank you for sharing. I see this type of thing happen all over the city. It’s deplorable, but certainly not illegal and definitely not a rarity. I really wish the author of this “article” (I’m more inclined to call it a blog entry…) would have sought out the other side of the story. It’s lazy journalism.

      Reply
    • ovzlekys says:

      You’re right that it happens elsewhere. Life isn’t fair. But we should still be telling stories like this– and reading them.

      Reply
    • Roger Levy says:

      What I want to know is what grounds did he have for evicting Nick? Someone else asked isn’t it illegal to evict someone without good reason?

      Reply
  9. Avery L says:

    Alex Siquig- You should be ashamed calling yourself a journalist here. You did not do your fact checking, if you had, you would not have missed the HUGE piece of this story which is actually that the former MICA employee made an offer to buy the business from Brooks, an offer that was very fair and he refused that offer. However, that fact would have thrown a real wrench in your highly dramatized account of what happened here.

    Reply
    • hans says:

      Actually Avery L, no, he didn’t make an offer to Brooks. You should get your shit straight

      Reply
    • DGB says:

      That is categorically untrue. YOU are the one that didn’t do fact checking. Nick Brooks was offered ZERO, even though the MICA employee gave every indication that he was interested in making a deal for a significant amount of money.

      Reply
  10. Dan says:

    I am a little confused by this story. The story says they are being evicted? On what basis? Does the store not have a lease? If they did not have a lease, or the lease was expiring shortly, how did they expect to be able to sell the business?

    A new buyer of a commercial building should not be able to simply evict all the retail tenants. There must be more to this story. Anyone know?

    Reply
  11. Paul_D says:

    Sounds like the good Director needs to be reminded that he’s only flesh and bone.

    Reply
  12. SG Johns says:

    Business is business! Bad business ethics. That’s why the community has the power to BOYCOTT any business that moves into the space. The MICA student community is very tight in Bolton Hill… I hope they can hold out and make the scum regret his poor business ethics. Get the word out! I know where I stand. I will not patronize any business in that space now that I know what happened.

    Reply
  13. tom robinson says:

    This is why Mr. Siquig and the Post-Examiner are second rate. Did he talk to anyone except Nick Brooks? Did he bother to dig (even a little) to see if there is another side to the story? I’ve been to the Bolton Deli – it’s not much. Dirty, slow service, fairly good sandwiches. It never became what is could have been, mostly due to poor management and half-hearted work ethic. If Nr. Siquig has asked around the neighborhood, instead of just getting into bed with a bunch of disgruntled ex-art students, he would have heard the same, and found out that Bolton Hill wants and deserves more. I hope the new owner makes the space into something better than what is there now – it shouldn’t be too tough.

    Reply
    • JB says:

      I used to eat there when I lived on campus. I agree, service was very slow. Food was just okay. It wasn’t anything special. I commend the art students who were able to pull it off and keep it going for as long as they did, but moving forward, it could be so much more. It will be missed by the neighborhood art students and alums, I’m sure. But by Baltimore as a whole? I don’t think so. There are more important things to worry about in Baltimore.

      Reply
    • ovzlekys says:

      He tried to talk to the other side. Heck, he doesn’t even mention the names even though all of the information is pretty much public somewhere. He seems to be bending over backwards to treat this shark well.

      Reply
  14. Sloan says:

    “Share information in confidence…” without a written contract or lawyer present? Whose choice was that? Who wanted out of the business in the first place? Also, information about the property and it’s owners is not privileged, it’s a matter of public record. Seems to me that the deli owner is looking to blame everybody but himself, and is more eager to take on an institution than the scumbag responsible.

    Reply
    • DGB says:

      You don’t understand the context of the initial discussions. The act of seeking guidance from the Office of Alumni Affairs to begin the process of trying to sell a business should NOT be one requiring a lawyer. If you can’t trust your University, then what does it say about them? Also “Who wanted out in the first place?” is a stunningly foolish interpretation of events. You act as if anyone who desires to sell a business deserves to be kicked to the curb. Senseless. Nick poured his heart and life savings into this very successful business. His grievance is REAL.

      Reply
      • Sloan says:

        Of course his grievance I real. He was royally screwed over… by David and his partner. If David had not resigned from MICA before purchasing the building, this would have been an entirely different story. The fact that his partner’s LLC technically made the purchase also changes things. Anytime you talk business with someone, a lawyer, witness, or contract should be present, plain and simple. Unfortunately for Nick, in the eyes if the law, there is no reason that MICA should have to take full responsibility for the actions of a former employee, nor should they feel obliged to settle those grievances with a payout. That’s just ridiculous. What did MICA get out of this, besides the annoyance of a handful of phone calls and letters? Look at who stood to benefit most, then point the finger.

        What bothers me most about this whole thing is that no one cares to hear the other side of the story. This article is a prime example of bad journalism; bias, poorly researched material, topped off with substandard writing. I guess it was foolish of me to expect more from the Baltimore Post Examiner.

        Reply
        • DGB says:

          Bottom line is that MICA should have a Code of conduct for employees that prevents them from taking financial advantage of students or alumni who seek their advice or provide information that could be misused for financial gain. It’s not that complicated.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “Look at who stood to benefit the most, then point the finger”, but Nick was perfectly content to keep his business going until or unless he could find a buyer. Instead, he lost his life savings and his livelihood. He was victimized by an opportunist.

          Reply
  15. SAS says:

    Just hearing about this story is sickening, even though I have nothing to do with the area I wish there was something I could do to help. Is there anywhere I can complain/bother MICA?

    Reply
    • SHobbs says:

      “Bothering MICA” is a waste of your time and that of MICA employees who have nothing to do with this. This article could not be more bias if it tried, and the writing is atrocious. Pointing fingers and being vindictive toward the institution isn’t going to bring the deli back, so what is the point? Did you really expect MICA to just open its checkbook and pay the deli’s grievances? Why would they do that?

      As unfortunate as the situation is, a school isn’t accountable for the actions of former employees, especially when no laws were broken. By the way, the former director of Alumni Relations resigned, not retired. There is a big difference. MICA is a scape goat, plain and simple. Why not go after the persons responsible? Why was Nick selling the deli in the first place, and, did he really expect things to stay the same under new ownership.

      Look, it sucks to be taken advantage of. It really does. But get the facts straight before pointing fingers.

      Someone has yet to explain why MICA is responsible for settling any grievances.

      Reply
      • DGB says:

        Nick went to seek advise from MICA as he has a right to, being an alumnus. He reasonably assumed that the Director of Alumni Relations would have his interests at heart, or at least cause no harm. He wasn’t there to pitch the business, but to get advise on positioning himself to sell the business, specifically to create a network of potential interested parties. With that as a backdrop, what this individual did is akin to “insider trading” or a lawyer breaching the confidence that a client puts in him/her. MICA should have a code of conduct that prevents employees from taking financial advantage of students and alumni who use services. It is absolutely reasonable and right to expect MICA to take responsibility for a chain of events that started while the opportunist was in their employ.

        Reply
      • GreenTom says:

        If a MICA employee misused confidential information he obtained while working a MICA, the school could be liable. Brooks needs a lawyer.

        Reply
      • Bolton Hill'er says:

        Totally agree. I live in the neighborhood and while having a locally owned restaurant in that location is an amentity and contributor to the character of the neighborhood, I never had a good experience at Botlon Deli. The owner was standoffish and the food was subpar. If the owner was swindled then he should pursue any legal recourse he has or learn a hard lesson. Having the guys father defending him all over the comment section is pathetic.

        Reply
  16. anon says:

    That’s a damn shame. I’m sure going to miss those shakes…

    Reply
  17. MD says:

    I barely ever post anything online about news articles but this was so sad news to hear. I don’t know Nick or any employee at the Bolton Deli.. I’m just a regular woman in the neighborhood with a husband and two kids that liked to walk over there and order our food, walk across the street to play on the playground for a while and then come back to eat our lunch or dinner.

    I know there’s another sandwich option a block away that is extremely popular in this area, but that space is extremely tiny and was always too difficult to bring our stroller into. This is the reason we originally started exclusively going to Bolton Deli but then it just turned into the place that we could go to and get really good food and take our time.

    I have no idea what the future is for that space.. who knows. But if it is a sandwich place I have no intentions on going there. It’s really a shame. I will miss my muffaletta caprese so much. I wish they’d just share the recipe!

    Your restaurant family got screwed. I don’t think I know any renter or homeowner in this area that doesn’t know the story of what’s going on and isn’t furious about it.

    Reply
    • DGB says:

      Very nice to hear your perspective, MD. I’m Nick’s father, so of course I’m outraged, as are all of Nick’s friends and peers from the MICA community, but it is especially gratifying to hear that people in the community, not directly affiliated with the school are being so supportive. Thank you!

      Reply
  18. Annie says:

    This makes me so sad. Bolton Deli was the only place to get a decent bite for only a little cash. I feel so vindictive towards the new owners, and it scares me. I was a classmate of Nick’s and he did nothing but hard work.

    Reply
  19. LC says:

    Sounds to me like you’re an idiot. Really. You’re a moron if that’s
    seriously what you’ve taken away from this story. Please, do us all a
    favor and get your head out of your ass before you post another asinine
    comment. And no, not every MICA student is a “poor little rich kid.” Not
    everyone’s parents pay for their college. Not everyone gets enough
    financial aid to avoid loan debt. So you can just stop right there.

    There’s
    no need to reach out to the other side for comment. This isn’t one of
    those times where there is two sides to every story. No, this article is
    about legitimate facts. I suggest you re-read and gain some clarity.

    Nick
    Brooks isn’t looking for attention or sympathy, he was fucked over by
    some bigwig pricks with no conscience. That’s it. This article isn’t
    going to change a damn thing. The Bolton Deli isn’t going to exist.
    Why? No one gives a damn about civility anymore! Why do we need to talk
    to them? They have no information to offer. They’re clearly benefiting
    from the whole ordeal because they’re asshole opportunists. Luckily,
    what goes around comes around. I used to live in Bolton Hill, and I hope
    everyone boycotts whatever replaces the Bolton Deli.

    Reply
    • patrick says:

      Why are people up voting you? Youre a moron.

      Reply
    • ovzlekys says:

      Yes, the article will change things. People will understand and make their own decision. It wasn’t the nicest deal. Perhaps some law was bent or maybe even broken. And we’ll make up our minds about the next business that appears there.

      Let us know some names, please.

      Reply
  20. The Baltimore Chop says:

    Sounds to me like a poor little rich kid who knows little about business.

    Looks like you put a lot of work into writing this, but neglected to reach out to the other side for comment or to hear their side of it. Nick Brooks is looking for attention and sympathy, I’m not sure he deserves either.

    Reply
    • Q.G. says:

      Can Mr. Siquig even call himself a journalist after forgoing the whole other side of the story? I hear tiny violins playing and a whole lot of griping, but few actual facts. Businesses fail all the time. Man up and move on.

      Reply
      • DGB says:

        The business DIDN’T fail. It was very successful, and that is exactly why the management company bought up the property (~$500,000). Earn some income on the apartments and turn the deli into their own personal cash cow. Totally unethical turn of events. Nick would still have his business, his employees would still have their jobs, and the community would still have a business that they valued if not for the greed and dishonesty of the interlopers.

        Reply
        • Q.G. says:

          They didn’t buy the property because the deli was “very successful,” they bought it for the real estate investment. It’s a prime location, and, as you said, there are apartments upstairs to rent out. Those are the selling points. Not a modest sandwich shop. It’s all about the real estate. If Nick’s business was hugely profitable, than why did he receive no offers? These guys aren’t stupid. They may be sleezy, but they are savvy business men. The deli is nonessential to the new owners. They have the money to do it bigger and better. That is the sad reality.

          Reply
          • DGB says:

            He received no offers because IT WAS NOT ON THE MARKET! And you think the new management company bought the building because of the apartments? SERIOUSLY???? You think it’s just a coincidence that a few months after Nick went to seek MICA admin’s advice about how to find prospective buyers and position himself to put the business up for sale, and mere weeks after DH and JC showing intense interest in making an offer to Nick for the deli, that suddenly they changed their focus and the “modest sandwich shop” JUST HAPPENED to come along with their coveted prime real estate apartments? Puh-leeze.

            They bought it for the huge profit potential of the restaurant. Nick built it and they stole it.

          • E says:

            Mr. Brooks, I don’t mean to douse the discussion here.. but if you or your son plan to bring action in this affair, most lawyer-types would I think recommend that you refrain from commenting on the matter via social media.

            I think most everyone here, even those who were neither fans nor patrons of Nick’s deli acknowledge your pain and outrage, along with the relative cruddiness of the other parties’ actions.. But I’m reminded of taking a knee to run down the clock in football – perhaps unsporting and painful to watch if your team is behind, but in the end a perfectly legal strategy/exploitation of an agreed upon ruleset.

          • DGB says:

            Thanks. Reasonable advice to be sure, and I appreciate your sympathy. This battle is being fought and will continue to be fought on many levels and it is unfortunate that what might be an effective strategy in the court of public opinion could be at cross purposes with what might work in the courthouse.

          • AV says:

            First of all, the property was unlisted. These men expressed interest in buying the BUSINESS from Nick (the “modest” and “nonessential” deli), then used the information that was subsequently given to them (as potential buyers), and circumvented him by making an offer on the property. Then, rather than being content to collect rent from a thriving business, they gave Bolton Deli a notice of eviction.

            There are plenty of investment/development opportunities in Baltimore, but these men chose to take advantage of a local business owner–young and naive as he may have been–by using an official position (at Mica) to establish trust, and then using the information given in this context against the deli. The fact that these sorts of “sleezy” practices are dismissed as good business highlights the very issue here. Are businessmen not expected to abide by rules of common decency? Why do we make excuses for unethical business practices, and dismiss the injustice of the situation by turning it around and extolling the intelligence of these “savvy business men”? Of course, everyone has their two cents about what Nick *SHOULD* have done, how he *SHOULD* have protected himself and foreseen this betrayal of his trust (congratulations to all of you on your perfect hindsight!), but that sort of victim-blaming is what allows unethical practices to continue. If we can admit that what these men did was sleezy, then why jump to their defense? Is that really what we want in our society–to legitimize sleeze and to be unforgiving toward the little guy, the hard-working local business owner? The “sad reality” is exactly what is being addressed here as something that needs to change.

          • DGB says:

            Bravo, AV! Great post.

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