Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pi Partners Flinging More Than Dough...What Would President Obama Think?!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge Pi's patio - PHOTO BY IAN FROEB
  • Photo by Ian Froeb
  • Pi's patio
The former general manager of President Barack Obama's favorite pizzeria wants his dough: Ryan Mangialardo is suing his former bosses Chris Sommers and Frank Uible, the owners of Pi, for past and future pizza profits, plus punitive damages.

Mangialardo filed his lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Monday. He's now working at Bar Louie in Kirkwood. He says Sommers and Uible fired him on July 2 without explanation.

"I was very blindsided," Mangialardo tells RFT. "I love the place. I did everything, from the cocktails to the drinks to the atmosphere."

The lawsuit says Sommers, Uible and Mangialardo verbally agreed that Mangialardo would acquire a 2 percent stake in the pizzeria.

But Mangialardo has yet to see a penny.

"[Pi] is as successful as it is today because of him, and for them to just cast him aside when they were done getting what they got from him is totally improper," says Tim Lemen, Mangialardo's attorney. "[Sommers and Uible] now flat out deny that he was ever an owner."

Kyler Humphrey, Sommers' and Uible's attorney, has not yet returned a phone call for comment. 

Mangialardo says he started out as Pi's chef and then became general manager (while continuing some kitchen duties).

Sommers bought the recipe for Pi's cornmeal-encrusted dough from a San Francisco restaurant; Mangialardo says he tweaked the basic recipe and devised the different pizza styles, appetizers and salads.

The pizzeria got a big boost earlier this year after Mangialardo and Sommers got invited to the White House by President Barack Obama. Mangialardo calls cooking for the POTUS "the experience of a lifetime."

Pi is expanding to the CWE and Kirkwood.

The lawsuit has been assigned to judge David Lee Vincent.

Clarification: The lawsuit is not seeking "punitive" damages, as originally posted.

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