According to the New York Times (NYT), the mess that is COPIA (offically the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts), the ambitious Frankenstein’s monster in the heart of Napa that was founded in a large part from money donated by the late Robert Mondavi, finally filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Anyone who has been following this soap opera for the past several years can only shake their head in bewilderment. COPIA was and is a good premise that got caught up in to much self importance and pretentiousness. No one wanted to come and no one came.
What is one to do?
- Name a Food Network personality, Tyler Florence, as dean of culinary studies and restaurant Executive Chef, when he’s not plugging Applebees (September 25, 2008). Applebees and COPIA… is it me or is that a contradiction in terms?
- Announce in the San Francisco Chronicle that you plan on opening a second, 50,000 square feet location in San Francisco and plans to build a mixed-use specialty retail center and four-star boutique hotel connected to the COPIA facility (March 14, 2008).
- Throw more money at it (currently a total of $78 million in debt) and see if it will float.
- Spout platitudes and contradictions. Garry McGuire, COPIA’s president and CEO said,
The core business of COPIA is healthy and growing. However, COPIA’s $78 million bond debt is not sustainable.
I seem to remember something about the Emperor having new cloths.
The Times also stated that COPIA says that it secured $2 million (more) of credit “to fund its day-to-day operations” while it tries to figure out the mess. “COPIA is still closed and no one seems to know when exactly it will reopen … which is probably not the best way to get people to visit and spend money.”
As one poster on the NYT website said, “Let’s face it, they gave a party and nobody came.”
For full coverage of the COPIA fiasco see Eater SF.
Update: For those who enjoy this sort of thing, here are the numbers behind the banckruptcy from the Napa Valley Register. They owe everyone from Adco Outdoor Advertising to the San Francisco Chronicle to ZD Wines.