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Founded Year

1993

Stage

Acquired | Acquired

Total Raised

$38.12M

Valuation

$0000 

About BUCA

BUCA was a Leisure/Restaurants company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. BUCA was acquired in 2008.

Headquarters Location

1300 Nicollet Mall Suite 5003

Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403,

United States

612-225-3400

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BUCA Patents

BUCA has filed 2 patents.

patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Status

9/15/2014

7/10/2018

Nautical terminology, Ship measurements, Gas technologies, Food storage containers, Cooling technology

Grant

Application Date

9/15/2014

Grant Date

7/10/2018

Title

Related Topics

Nautical terminology, Ship measurements, Gas technologies, Food storage containers, Cooling technology

Status

Grant

Latest BUCA News

Toronto chef Rob Gentile to open West Hollywood restaurant despite harassment allegations at last job

Jan 27, 2024

156 Rob Gentile is set to open the “most exciting” new Italian restaurant in West Hollywood. Construction is almost complete. The menu is being created. In the space that formerly housed the old-fashioned Italian restaurant Madeo, Gentile will serve Italian cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients, including specialties such as Sicilian pasta su filindeu, with his business partner, Janet Zuccarini, a Canadian restaurateur. But amid announcements of its planned opening in early 2024, the latest in a wave of flashy Italian restaurants in Los Angeles, the Times obtained internal investigative documents from King Street Food Company, the group restaurant where Gentile worked, which show the head chef was found guilty of contributing to a hostile workplace at an upscale Toronto restaurant. The documents, along with interviews, revealed that the celebrity chef was fired from his last job as chef at Toronto’s Buca restaurant and that, separately, an outside lawyer hired by the company concluded that he was harassed at work and made humiliating comments of a sexual and racist nature. on staff members. The sign for Stella was placed this month in the space that housed Madeo. (Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times) “As a partner in the company, (Gentile’s) role was to act as a role model and address disrespectful and harassing behavior,” wrote independent investigator Lauren Bernardi, in a summary of her findings. “Instead, he committed to it himself. The impact on individual beneficiaries and the workplace culture as a whole cannot be overstated. The allegations against Gentile are just the latest to emerge in the Los Angeles dining scene. Last year, trendy American restaurant Horses was rocked by accusations of animal abuse and cat murder by one of the head chefs, Will Aghajanian. Other restaurants such as Jon & Vinny’s were accused of hiding tips from their employees, while Café Tropical, a Silver Lake staple, closed its doors amid a fierce family legal battle over the money. The allegations against Gentile do not appear serious enough to prompt his partner Zuccarini to slow down the restaurant’s opening or consider another chef. Gentile acknowledged some of the offensive texts he sent that came up during the investigation, but denied they were representative of his character or his manner of running a kitchen. “That’s not who I am,” Gentile said in an interview with The Times. “Janet knows me. I was as truthful and honest as possible. Gentile had not shared information about her unceremonious ousting of Buca with Zuccarini, she told the Times. Gentile was laid off from the group during the pandemic after his partners learned he was doing outside catering work despite his contract, he told the Times. Still, Zuccarini said she believes in giving people second chances and trusts Gentile to lead Stella. “I am a woman who owns a restaurant group. I have been in the industry for 28 years. I believe you must protect your reputation at the cost of your life,” she said. “I understand the culture of kitchens. Especially with men, and it can be very toxic. As a female owner, I have no tolerance for any of this. Zuccarini added that Stella’s chef de cuisine is a woman. King Street Food Company declined to comment on the investigation or Gentile’s dismissal from the group. Zuccarini said she spoke with the company and was informed that the investigation was not just into Gentile, but that it was a broader investigation into workplace culture following a sexual harassment allegation against another boss. A Toronto Life article reported serious financial and employment problems at Buca, but most of the allegations in the article did not concern Gentile, although it was reported that he demanded excellence while not hiring not enough cooks to do the job. Gentile also admitted that he has learned a lot about being a chef since starting at Buca and that his management style has changed. Gentile has worked in restaurants since he was a child, starting as a dishwasher in a restaurant in Ontario, Canada, when he was 13 years old. He attended culinary school and worked at several Toronto restaurants before becoming chef at Buca in 2009. Buca was frequently featured on lists of Canada’s best restaurants. Zuccarini also opened Felix Trattoria in Venice, which is one of the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles according to the Times. The allegations detailed in documents reviewed by The Times also described Gentile as rude, sending sexually and racially disrespectful messages to co-workers and in group chats that included co-workers. Sarah Fiore, who will be Stella’s chef de cuisine, said she started working with Rob Gentile in high school, that he had always been a mentor to young chefs and that she felt no problem finding his former boss. (Michael Blackshire/Los Angeles Times) In a “chiefs” Instagram group chat, Gentile messaged staff members who told him about a photo of a tattooed woman in a bikini, according to investigative documents. Gentile assumed the woman was “drunk and high on coke” and made a crude reference to the woman having sex with multiple black male partners, according to the messages. In another case, Gentile allegedly threatened one of his workers with crucifixion. “If she doesn’t do that, I’m going to put her on a crucifix with nails in her hands.” I’m going to crucify her and hang her up there for everyone to see,” Gentile wrote, according to the investigator. Gentile denied sending the message, saying the investigator’s recitation was “embellished.” In other messages reviewed by The Times, Gentile threatened to choke and hit employees, which he initially denied to the independent investigator, according to his report. Sarah Fiore, who will be Stella’s chef de cuisine, said she started working with Gentile in high school and he has always been a mentor to young chefs. She then worked at Gentile at Buca in Toronto before opening her own restaurant. Despite the investigation’s allegations, Fiore said she has no qualms about reuniting with her former boss. “Rob was not at all a leader who encouraged toxic behavior. He didn’t tolerate it. He is not a malicious person. He always wants to help other leaders in the industry, not just those who work with him,” Fiore told the Times. “Rob told me about the messages… He was remorseful about them and I don’t think they reflect his personality at all. I saw him grow and change. Yet the investigator found that even during his interview with Gentile, the chief was not completely forthcoming. “Rob initially denied making the above comments, including claiming that the allegations that he wanted to punch someone were false and denying the Instagram posts, even though such allegations were easily provable,” a writes the investigator. When confronted with the messages by the investigator, Gentile admitted to sending them. “It’s not acceptable, I’ll give it to you,” he told her, according to his report. “I don’t even realize in the moment that I’m writing these things to be honest with you. In hindsight, this is obviously unacceptable. I’m not fine. It’s my vocabulary and the way it’s expressed, it’s not right. Los Angeles Times

BUCA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was BUCA founded?

    BUCA was founded in 1993.

  • Where is BUCA's headquarters?

    BUCA's headquarters is located at 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.

  • What is BUCA's latest funding round?

    BUCA's latest funding round is Acquired.

  • How much did BUCA raise?

    BUCA raised a total of $38.12M.

  • Who are the investors of BUCA?

    Investors of BUCA include Planet Hollywood International, Walden Venture Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Northwood Ventures, Norwest Equity Partners and 4 more.

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