Roman bistro Allora has closed “indefinitely” less than a month after owner Brendon Hudson shuttered Zander’s, his hospitality group’s other fine-dining eatery.

When Allora opened in 2021, the Mount Vernon restaurant drew crowds for its intimate cacio e pepe dinners and lunch pastries and espressos. The success of the business inspired owners Hudson and his partner David Monteagudo to expand their footprint, forming a hospitality group that promised to “bring Baltimore onto the national map,” they said in an interview last year. But their rise to Charm City fame took a tumble when allegations arose over the restaurateurs not paying their debts.

On Tuesday, Monteagudo told Allora employees that the restaurant would close due to an investigation by Chase Bank “for depositing what we now know was a fraudulent check” that led to the closing of their bank accounts, according to messages obtained by The Baltimore Banner.

“They [Chase] are investigating the situation but now they have all of the money that was in the accounts and we have 0 access to anything,” he said in the message. “We don’t want to string any of you guys along, saying that it will get fixed soon and things would go back to normal.”

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Monteagudo called the shuttering unexpected and unintentional, “especially so close to Zander’s,” their downtown restaurant that allegedly failed to pay multiple employees and vendors and closed about three weeks ago. At least two Allora employees told The Banner they were concerned about not receiving a final paycheck.

“I really hope you understand and don’t think badly of us,” Monteagudo wrote. “Things just ended up not wanting to work out for the businesses and kept hitting walls.”

Hudson did not respond to a request for comment. Attempts to reach Monteagudo were not successful.

Allora chef Jemeral Junior said he spent the last year working at the restaurant and has seen the staff dwindle from more than 10 to five people in the last three months. He alleged that Hudson had a pattern of missing payments, which led to some people leaving.

Plans to expand Allora into a larger space within the neighboring City House development in Mount Vernon fell through in May 2023. Shortly after, employees accused Hudson of paying staff with bounced checks or incomplete wages, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. The article alleged that the restaurateur’s troubles worsened as he grew his Liliahna Hospitality Group. Hudson previously denied the allegations.

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Roughly two months later, Velleggia’s, the Italian eatery inside Cross Street Market launched as a revival of the Little Italy bistro Hudson’s family had run for years, closed after less than a year in business. The space’s landlord, flooring company and vendors are suing Hudson for tens of thousands of dollars in missed payments, according to Baltimore City and County Circuit Court records. Hudson previously declined to comment on the claims.

In December 2023, Hudson opened Zander’s as a “Great Gatsby-themed” steakhouse in the historic Alexander Brown Building downtown. But 13 former employees allege they were left in financial straits after depositing both fraudulent and insufficient checks from Hudson. At least one employee has filed complaints against Liliahna Hospitality to the IRS and Maryland Department of Labor. Joe Colona, a former manager for the restaurant, said Hudson still owes him $4,000.

In response to the accusations, Hudson said he felt awful about the missed payments and did not mean to “to screw anyone over,” adding that the industry is not for everybody and “growth can be messy.”

Over the last year, the Liliahna Hospitality Group has been sued three times in New York Supreme Court for failing to pay back money borrowed, according to a Banner investigation. Court records obtained showed Hudson and Liliahna LLC were ordered to pay more than $67,000 to a now-shuttered private equity firm and more than $16,000 to another direct lending firm. An ongoing case in the court is Hudson and his company being sued for more than $20,000 owed to a financial counseling service.

Hudson’s team declined to comment on the lawsuits. He continues to operate a luxury catering company known as Liliahna Luxury Catering.

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