Chef Dylan McGrath seeks rescue plan for two restaurants

Entities behind Brasserie Sixty6 and Rustic Stone appointed insolvency expert under Scarp scheme

Two companies co-owned by celebrity chef Dylan McGrath are seeking to restructure their debts under a new process for small and micro companies.

Prime Steak – the company behind Dublin restaurant Rustic Stone in Dublin 2 – and Home RBVR, which runs Brasserie Sixty6 in Dublin 2, both had Neil Hughes, a partner and insolvency expert at Baker Tilly, appointed as process adviser on August 5th under the Small Companies Administration Process (Scarp).

Mr Hughes will now work out a rescue plan for the two trading entities, which could involve writing down debts owed to creditors who will ultimately have to vote on the final terms of the agreement. Brasserie Sixty6 and Rustic Stone both remain open and continue to trade.

Scarp, introduced by the Government last year to supplement the examinership process, is designed to give protection from creditors to small companies that are struggling financially and are either unable or unlikely to pay their debts.

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Creditors owed

To apply for protection under Scarp, companies must have no more than 50 employees and annual turnover not exceeding €12 million with a balance sheet of no more than €6 million.

Michelin-starred chef Mr McGrath owns 50 per cent of both companies along with his business partner Vincent Melinn. Both men are listed as directors of the two companies.

Accounts filed by Prime Steak earlier this year indicated that it owed more than €3.8 million to creditors at the end of June 2021, more than €1.5 million of which was owed to connected companies, including Home RBVR. Some €888,744 was owed to Prime Steak Restaurant 2021, also owned by Mr McGrath and Mr Melinn, which trades as Fade Street Social.

In addition, the company owed more than €654,000 to trade creditors and more than €540,000 to its banks. Accumulated losses of €2.2 million had built up at Prime Steak – which employed 23 people – by the end of June of last.

Home RBVR, meanwhile, owed more than €1.7 million to creditors, some 40 per cent of which – around €694,600 – was owed to trade creditors by the end of June 2021. The company employed 25 people.

Toll of pandemic

In a statement, a spokesman for the companies said it was business as usual at Brasserie Sixty6 and Rustic Stone.

Mr McGrath said: “We want to thank all of our staff, loyal customers and suppliers for their support over the past two years as we have coped with the effects of the pandemic. We are confident the restaurants have excellent prospects going forward, once we reorganise the businesses through this process.”

The process would allow the company to restructure and “trade into the future on a solid financial footing, thereby protecting the jobs of the employees”, he said.

Mr McGrath, a former Masterchef presenter, rose to prominence as head chef at Mint restaurant in Ranelagh, where he received a Michelin star in 2008. The restaurant – which was the subject of an RTÉ documentary titled The Pressure Cooker – was an early, high-profile victim of the post-2008 recession, closing the following year.

Mr McGrath also owned and operated the Shelbourne Social restaurant in Ballsbridge, which was taken over by chef Richard Corrigan and renamed The Park Cafe earlier this year.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times