Green peace or food truce

Apr 4, 2001 at 12:00 am

Good news for tofu types, eco-freaks and just about anyone who likes to see the green-friendly guy win. Well, it’s sort of a win.

Atom’s Juice Café in Grosse Pointe — which serves fresh-squeezed juices, herbal teas, meatless sandwiches and assures that all its paper products are 100 percent recyclable— settled a lawsuit against it that nearly drove it out of business.

Fisher Road Properties, which rents Atom’s space in a strip mall across from Grosse Pointe South High School, sued the café for allegedly competing with Subway, a tenant which also rents space in the same half-block strip from Fisher. FRP sued Atom’s after Subway owners Tom and Doris Odren sued FRP for breach of contract. According to Tom Odren, Fisher agreed not to rent space to competing businesses. Atom’s owners John Chetcuti and family countersued FRP.

Last month, all parties agreed to settle; the terms are confidential, says Chetcuti. “We’re just a bunch of tofu-eating vegans, man,” he says. “We don’t want to fight.”

Chetcuti says that public support helped pressure Subway owners to settle. And, as much as we hate to blow our own horn, he credited News Hits with the victory. We, after all, broke the story. “It seems like once it hit the Metro Times it got bigger and bigger, then the Associated Press picked it up, and we’ll be in the Vegetarian Times,” maybe this May, says Chetcuti.

The bad news is the tiny business incurred $10,000 in legal fees. To help defray costs, there is a fundraiser at the Scarab Club on April 7, where the Blue Kings will jam along with local poets. Tickets are $25. For information, call 313-885 -0095.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]