Kappo Masa, the elite New York restaurant owned by gallerist Larry Gagosian and Japanese chef Masayoshi Takayama, is the subject of a class action lawsuit being brought by former employees there.
The lawsuit, which was filed this week, features allegations that Kappo Masa employees both past and present are still owed tip money for their services. The restaurant relied upon “improper formulas for the calculation of and distribution of tips during regular restaurant service, and also for the calculation of and distribution of gratuities/service charges for private events,” according to the filing.
Orin Kurtz, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told Eater, which first reported the news Thursday, that Kappo Masa “underpaid its employees by 12 percent.” Carolyn D. Richmond, a lawyer for the restaurant, pledged to contest the suit and said that Kappo Masa had “been in full compliance with all state and federal wage and hour laws.”
Should the Kappo Masa employees win, any tipped worker who has worked there since September 20, 2017 may be entitled to money.
Kappo Masa, which opened in 2014, has gained a reputation for its priciness. In his one-star review of it, New York Times critic Pete Wells wrote that it is “expensive in a way that’s hard to forget either during or after the meal. The cost of eating at Kappo Masa is so brutally, illogically, relentlessly high, and so out of proportion to any pleasure you may get, that large numbers start to seem like uninvited and poorly behaved guests at the table.”
The restaurant is located beneath Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery. According to a recent New Yorker profile of the dealer, he dines there several times a week.