Popular brunch spot in downtown Hartford faces eviction

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A trendy Connecticut restaurant with multiple locations faces a lawsuit and possible eviction at its downtown Hartford location.

The Place 2 Be is known for its post-worthy food, over-the-top drinks and all-day brunch in Hartford’s Constitution Plaza.

However, the Manhattan-based landlord claims the owner failed to pay months of rent. Through court documents, News 8 learned Gina Luari, the current tenant of the 5,429 square-foot space, was served with an eviction notice last month.

The lawsuit filed by the landlord, 5CP Master Tenant LLC, states, “Tenant breached the Lease by failing to pay all amounts when due.”

It goes on to say the landlord sent a notice to The Place 2 Be in November 2023 concerning unpaid rent: “Despite demand, Tenant has failed to pay all sums due to Landlord.”

Luari, the owner and founder of The Place 2 Be, is now sharing her side of the story.

She said the lawsuit came after a dispute with the landlord over flood damage at the Hartford-based restaurant last July.

“We filed a claim with our insurance company, and we were denied because it was the third flood… and they said it was our landlord’s responsibility to prevent these floods moving forward,” Luari said. “We sent the denial letter out to our landlords when we received it, and we didn’t hear anything back. And in October, after four months of trying to find a resolution, we told them we were going to stop paying rent until we found a resolution.”

She told News 8 that the restaurant experienced $100,000 in physical damages from multiple floods. Luari said they plan to go to trial to find a resolution to the ongoing lawsuit.

“In this lawsuit that’s going on, it’s going to give us a platform in front of a judge to be able to tell our side of the story,” Luari said.

The Place 2 Be remains open in Hartford. News 8 reached out to the landlord’s attorney for comment, but we haven’t heard back.

Legal action was taken against The Place 2 Be location in New Haven over missed monthly payments, but court records show that the complaint was recently “withdrawn.”

Luari said she has also reached a new rent agreement with the landlord of their new bakery, which is under construction in West Hartford. 

“We’re working it out, and things should be updated within the system soon, and we intend on opening by the summer,” she said.

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