Growing local chain Flour Bakery & Cafe is reportedly suing the landlord of its longtime Fort Point location (12 Farnsworth St., Boston). Cakewalk Bakers LLC, which is Flour’s official business listing, filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court on August 30 against building owner New Tower Trust Co., the Bethesda, Maryland-based trustee and investment manager of Multi-Employer Property Trust, a $6.5 billion real estate equity firm.
According to the suit, New Tower allowed a Connecticut-based competitor called Mystic Market Kitchen & Eatery to lease space adjacent to Flour.
From the suit:
Although Mystic’s corporate name includes the word “Market,” it is primarily a restaurant, bakery and cafe offering “breakfast, custom sandwiches, market salads, artisanal sandwiches, paninis & grilled sandwiches, sweet treats platters, tarts & pies, cupcakes” and catering grocery items, all at a substantially similar price point to Flour. Flour’s menu offers comparable, and in many instances identical, food and beverage items as Mystic.
Flour’s complaint states that allowing Mystic Market to open there would cause irreparable damage to Flour’s business. Flour signed a noncompete agreement with previous building owner Berkeley Investments, notes the Boston Business Journal. Berkeley Investments sold the property at 12 Farnsworth St. to New Tower Trust Co. in 2015. The suit says that the noncompete required Berkeley Investments to secure written consent before leasing space to any business with “generally comparable style, menu, price point and service.” (Flour allowed the now-defunct Bee’s Knees Supply Co. to open in the building as its business model leaned more in the retail direction and did not pose a direct competitive threat.)
Flour opened in Fort Point in 2007, seven years after the original South End location debuted. Now there are seven locations around Boston and Cambridge, with an eighth opening soon in Boston’s Seaport District.
Eater has reached out to Flour Bakery & Cafe owner Joanne Chang, representatives from Multi-Employer Property Trust, and representatives from Mystic Market; as of press time, none has provided comment on the lawsuit. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.