John Mims has been run out of town, you might say.
The chef-restaurateur, who earlier this month put the "Mims Food + Drink" name on the old Freehouse at 110 N. Wayne Ave. in Wayne, was booted from the operation by a judge. He's also been barred from working in much of the Main Line until July 1, 2011, under the ruling signed yesterday by Judge Harold Thomson and received today.
The order stems from a lawsuit filed by Mims' former financial partner, Howard Taylor, who says that Mims violated a clause in his contract prohibiting him from working for, consulting for or owning a restaurant or "competing business" within 10 miles of 808 W. Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr -- the site of Carmine's Creole Cafe.
Mims founded the restaurant in Havertown in 1998 and in 2004 moved it to Narberth. In late 2006, Taylor and his wife provided the $650,000 to move the well-regarded restaurant into Bryn Mawr, the suit says. It opened in January 2007.
Taylor and Mims had a falling out last summer over the operations of Carmine's and their newer restaurant, Les Bons Temps in Washington Square West. Taylor's lawsuit describes "certain detrimental conduct regarding the handling of funds and other matters germane to managing certain affairs of the business, which I had entrusted to Mr. Mims." Taylor said that after they spoke, "misappropriation of funds, falsification of records and theft continued." Mims was terminated in July, the suit said.
When Mims surfaced last fall as a chef at The Freehouse, Taylor mapped the distance from Bryn Mawr to Wayne at 4.1 miles. Taylor's suit says he sent Mims a demand letter to move.
The crux of Taylor's complaint was that through Mims Food + Drink, chef Mims was siphoning off business from Carmine's.
A rep for Mims had no comment this afternoon. Mims' attorney was in court and did not return a call seeking comment.
It's not clear what Mims' partners at Mims Food + Drink plan to do, or if Mims plans to appeal.
There's some backstory here.