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Kona Grill in trouble: bankruptcy, locations closing

ICCU: Business Unusual

Kona Grill, an original restaurant in the Village at Meridian, filed for bankruptcy and shutting down locations in recent weeks.

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For now, the Meridian restaurant remains in operation and the chain secured temporary financing as it enters bankruptcy reorganization. Locations across the country including in Arizona, Texas, Hawaii, Virginia closed this spring. The company said it will keep running its 27 remaining restaurants as normal.

The company and its former CEO filed lawsuits against each other over his firing. The CEO, James Kuhn, said Kona Grill fired him without cause after three months on the job. But Kona said Kuhn left it in a “perilous financial state, one from which it may be difficult to recover.”

The lawsuit, according to Business Insider, said Kuhn stopped paying for pest control services, cut staffing levels, removed wasabi from sushi entrees and ordered employees to stop cleaning beer lines.

The company said in its bankruptcy filing decisions to double locations and a stock buyback led to liquidity issues.

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The New York Stock Exchange dropped Kona after its stock drifted well below $1.

Kona Grill opened at Village at Meridian in 2013, along with Yard House, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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