Magpie owner removes equipment from restaurant, planning for fresh start at new location

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The owner of Magpie in Rockford wants a fresh start after the structure that housed the restaurant was damaged during a fire at the Hanley building next door. Stephanie Caltagerone moved most of her equipment off the property Tuesday, but some items and a lot of bitterness were left behind.

"I want a fresh start. I think Magpie deserves a fresh start after the past six and a half months,” said Magpie owner Stephanie Caltagerone.

After the Hanley building caught fire last summer, neighboring restaurant Magpie was forced to close. More than six months later, Caltagerone wants to move on.

"I just want to get out what I can because we are in the process of doing another build out at another location downtown, and I want my stuff,” said Caltagerone.

Caltagerone filed a lawsuit back in October against the former building owner Sam Pirrello, over what she believes were violations with her lease.

"We had some breach of contract issues and I'm sure there will be more issues going forward,” said Caltagerone.

Urban Equity Properties Investments 2, LLC purchased the building. The company's attorney Jeff Orduno says he tried to negotiate a new lease with Caltagerone's former attorney but says he received no response.

Caltagerone is working with Urban Equities to get her property out of the restaurant but claims she is not allowed to remove everything.

"It seems ludicrous to me that I would have any issue taking any of our property,” Caltagerone.

Caltagerone plans to open a new Magpie location downtown, although she hasn't revealed an exact location.

Urban Equity Properties said in a statement, “Best wishes for success to Magpie in its new location."

"I really just want my focus to be on the new restaurant and not dealing with all of this. I cannot wait to be back in the kitchen serving tasty food to happy people,” said Caltagerone.

Caltagerone says there is a court date set later this month. She says she has full confidence in her legal counsel.