When the Princeton-based partners of Ed “Jean Luc” Kleefield announced their separation and the closing of their restaurant on Alexander Road, JL Ivy, one proof cited of Kleefield’s mismanagement was the fact that his restaurants in the Hamptons had also been closed under the burden of debts and bad checks.
Not so fast, the PR savvy Jean Luc told the New York Post just before the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, he promised, three of his restaurants in the Hamptons — JLX, Grappa, and Madame Tong’s — would be ready to serve their loyal following over the three-day weekend. “The food has been ordered, the miniskirts are coming out, and there’s only one guy who could pull this off . . . moi,” he was quoted as saying in the May 24 Post.
But not everyone apparently got the memo. According to a report in the Southampton Press, police were called Friday, May 22, to the front lawn of Madame Tong’s to quell a dispute between Kleefield and Lyle Pike, who claimed he was the owner of the restaurant, not Kleefield. Pike had previously charged Kleefield with writing two bad checks for a total of $295,000. Police left the restaurant without making any arrests, and both Kleefield and Pike conducted separate, but mostly contradictory, interviews with the Southampton media.
As for the reopening of the restaurants, Kleefield reported on Tuesday, May 26, that they all had reopened as he predicted they would to the Post. Kleefield also disputed the account given by his former Princeton partners in U.S. 1’s May 20 issue and vowed that he would continue to fight for control of the Alexander Road restaurant.