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Weekend Reading: How Dallas Restaurateur Michael Costa Keeps Screwing Restaurants

Michael Costa has made a lot of enemies. Costa has made a lot of enemies. Illustration by Sean McCabe.

Remember the saga of Las Colinas Prime? It’s a sordid tale of TABC raids, bounced paychecks, and unpaid vendors. At the time, Michael Costa and his Rainmaker Consulting Group were working with LCP owner Bill McCrorey to get the business on track. If you need to catch up on the trail go here, here, here, here, and here.

Costa disappeared from the Dallas scene after Las Colinas Prime closed in fall of 2009. However, he is back in business at The Office Grill in the former Tre Amici space in North Dallas.

Two weeks after The Office Grill opened, my phone started ringing. Employees and vendors were not being paid and checks were bouncing.  It’s sounded all too familiar. I called a lot of people who have been in business with or worked for Michael Costa. I called Michael Costa. He claims that all of his accounts are in order. It still sounded shady to me—where there is billowing smoke there is usually a fire–so I checked (hah!) into his criminal records. What I found was rather interesting.  I have written a story in the June issue of D Magazine. It’s all here. Have a nice weekend.

Jump for the mugshots.


20 comments on “Weekend Reading: How Dallas Restaurateur Michael Costa Keeps Screwing Restaurants

  1. Why in God’s name would someone choose to work for him knowing his sketchy past and knowing checks have bounced? Do they really believe their check is so special it won’t bounce? Part of interviewing for a job is doing research before hand that you’d working for a reputable company…in this case, a company that would actually pay you. Not to say people deserved it at all, but if not one soul would work for him, he wouldn’t be able to screw people over.

  2. WOW
    I remember working at Toscana, and seeing Michael take a shot of liquor around 10 in the morning. I saw it then

  3. This dude is a total douche bag. Always was and always will be. How he holds his head up each day is a mystery to me. I mean really, people???

  4. You should do a followup piece on Frank Carabetta. He’s just as bad

  5. We have known what a mafia want to be Costa has been for years. I was always struck by the fact he could always find a new sucker out there and blick them for everything.
    In New York this idiot would be floating down a river by now.
    He is on probation and I hope his probation officer reads this and puts this piece of @&*# in jail where he belongs.
    Or better yet a trip down the trinity.
    I’m sure he’s packing his bags and hitting the road.

    Thank you Nancy from all of us who has watched this d#@* screw any and everyone he has touched. I hope his new victims has read this…

  6. haha I like how he says the chef had an anger problem…you would be pissed too if you and your staff were not being paid. Did he expect people to want to work for free? And why is he still allowed to open restaurants?

  7. well, shame on the investor and employees. He is easily checked out no one should work for him or give him a dollar

  8. I checked, there are no felonies and there are no suits………I have worked for this man on three different occasions and while he is disciplined, he always puts himself before others. There are always 2 sides to every story, which you do not appear interested in knowing. That Chef has been fired from 3 other jobs for the same reason…..get a life people, and shame on you as he has developed some of the best restaurants in town. Common sense would tell you that his investor would know this……

  9. Dear Simple,

    REALLY…. this is a small community with a long memory and Costa has a long history screwing people way over. I think Nancy deserves a medal for writing this story.

    Simple you must be out of your mind.. he puts himself before others.. wow stay off the pipe that is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time.. Run Simple and don’t look back.

  10. B, wake up!He puts others before himself, forgive the miswrite, but really, small-minded community, yes…….but who did he screw, or not? Nancy Nichols or [NAME REDACTED](train wreck that she is….can you say rehab?)He has a great history of great restaurants………is he really responsible for others peoples debts..I don’t think so………and do you have any idea how many restaurateurs he has developed? And fyi, I sleep with my husband……..

  11. Simple name all the restaurant’s Costa has made. A better idea name all the restaurants and projects he has been involved with in the last ten years and give all of us the outcome or carnage this thief has been a part of. His sidekick Brian should be mentioned also.

  12. Simply put Simple Sarah, all the restaurants you claim he developed have closed. He’s run one of the longest cons in the city. You sound like his next victim. Just ask all the wine and liquor purveyors he left holding the bag.

  13. Niles not to mention the dairy, produce, meat and grocery guys he’s burned. And let’s not forget all the employess and investors he has burned. Face it Simple the guy is a crook of the worst kind. I hope we all hope this will be the final word on this subject.
    I really hope he winds up in jail or an investor takes things into his own hands it’s long over due.

  14. Sounds like the perfect business partner for John Tesar. Have at it ladies.

  15. say i’ve been at the office grill for about five or six months and at first there was problems with checks but mine have always cashed and i have always received my money mike might be who he is but as far as the restaurant goes we are makining good food everyday and we now do lunch and brunch on the weekends let him be who he is but give the kitchen credit for putting out excellent food all the time i see alot about him but the food critics think the food we serve is very good i cant change him or his past but give the kitchen a chance to make it pls all the bad press about one man from folks who are mad about their own personal issues but the former chef was trying to steal food from us for his own benefits so of course he has some bad things to say come eat and see its not about mike its about the kitchen and we are putting out a very strong product.

  16. Sarah is a good example of Costa’s brainwashing in action. Anyway, I’m over it. Costa’s a piece of poo, and I should have just taken the time to google him. Then I would have read Nancy’s first article, and not gone to work for him. Oh well, win some, you lose some. In my defense, it is a really nice first kitchen, and I was totally blinded by all the shiny stainless. I dont steal by the way, Charles (the flat top cook “joo”). You of all people should know not to believe Costa.