Theo's Serves Up Lawsuit Against Former Chef


An upscale Fayetteville restaurant is suing its former chef, accusing him of poaching employees before leaving for a new job.

Bowman Restaurant Group LLC of Fayetteville, which does business as Theo’s, filed a lawsuit against Lucas Ardemagni alleging breach of the duty of loyalty to an employer.

In December, Ardemagni put in his notice that in two months he was leaving Theo’s, according to the suit filed June 9 in Washington County Circuit Court. The suit didn’t say where he was going, but Ardemagni’s Facebook page lists that he’s working at Lost Resorts Greer in Arizona.

From that time on, “Ardemagni covertly and directly recruited” at least two Theo’s employees to quit and follow him to the other location, the lawsuit said.

Theo’s also noted the impacts of COVID-19 on the restaurant and hospitality industry, resulting in the reduction of the pool of qualified restaurant workers. “The departure of the employees recruited and solicited by Ardemagni was unexpected and has resulted in scheduling and staffing difficulties on certain occasions,” the suit said.

Theo’s is seeking at least $8,000 from Ardemagni, which includes the money paid to him during the period in which he allegedly breached his duty of loyalty.

It also wants an injunction to prevent him from soliciting and recruiting Theo’s employees for at least a year.

Theo’s attorney is Joel Cape of Fayetteville.

Ardemagni didn’t return a message through his Facebook page.