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Multiple former employees say they have wage disputes with Apericena in Hyde Park

The restaurant has multiple Department of Labor liens against it. The owner says she's paid due wages to all her former employees.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-27 20:06:51-04

Editors Note: This article has been updated with the full response from the owner.

Idaho News 6 has spoken to multiple former employees of Apericena, a restaurant in the North End of Boise, who say they have not received payment for their time working at the restaurant. One of the former employees says she has an Idaho Department of Labor claim against the owner, Danielle Christine. Another former employee is a plaintiff in a small claims lawsuit with Christine.

  • Employees say they are owed thousands of dollars combined.
  • Christine declined to interview with Idaho News 6, but she sent documents that claim all wages from former employees have been paid their due wages.
  • There is a protest scheduled for Friday at 6pm outside Apericena by former employees who say they've had wage issues with the restaurant.

Below is a full statement from the owner of Apericena, about the allegations:
"Boise, Idaho – Employees are the beating heart of any establishment, and that is especially true in the restaurant industry. Restaurant owners who are fortunate enough to employ a dedicated staff know that they truly couldn’t operate without them – even if computers are quickly replacing much of the workforce in other industries. Notwithstanding these facts, it is becoming ever more difficult to hold onto employees in a complex and rapidly evolving economy. At the end of the day, the personal touch brought by employees of local businesses can determine their success or failure. It is with great trust and appreciation that a local restaurateur welcomes kind and hard-working persons on staff, to form a family, of sorts, to serve not only their guests, but their community.

La Bonté Brands, a hospitality group centered around meaningful culture and those who help to create it, is addressing a recent employee claim at its Apericena location with thoroughness and care. As a company deeply committed to fostering a supportive and respectful work environment, the hospitality group states that they take any concerns raised by their employees, current or former, seriously, and are dedicated to resolving them in a fair and transparent manner. La Bonté Brands has built their business by operating according to these values.

In recent weeks, a former employee filed a small claims case against the Boise North End European restaurant, demanding previously claimed wages as well as an additional, unfounded $5,000.00 for unclear reasons. The employee worked for the company for a total of four days and though they have already been paid wages due, has continued to make assertions that they are owed varying amounts over the course of several weeks. To date, the employee’s final paycheck – in addition to an additional sum demanded by the employee – has been deposited and cleared their financial institution’s verification process. Despite these facts, their allegations regarding amounts-owed continue, and they have enlisted the support of several sensationalizing social media groups and news outlets.

The support and claim of a second, prior employee has helped propel the narrative to a fever pitch, and the truth – it seems – is collateral damage as community members choose sides without a complete set of facts. As standard operating procedure, the claims of both employees have been duly investigated and dispelled by leadership at La Bonté Brands. Despite this, online attention seems to be gaining, beleaguering a local business’s ability to thrive and contribute meaningfully to its existing staff.

In light of these claims, a protest has been scheduled by the two formerly employed individuals and their online supporters. This event has been encouraged and rapidly spread by the Idaho Abortion Rights group on social media platforms, who has greatly contributed to the spread of misinformation and continued substantiation of these claims. This protest has been assembled for tomorrow, Friday, April 26, 2024 at 6:00pm in the middle of one of the restaurant’s busiest night’s of the week.

While La Bonté Brands and Owner Danielle Christine understand that the individuals may believe their claims are factual, she has personally engaged with the in-house investigation as well as the news outlets who have approached her, with the sole intention of helping the employees and community understand the facts. Danielle has stated that, were the claims true, she would likely feel similarly, but can say with confidence that the claims have been thoroughly researched and disproved. While she and the company’s General Manager have made several attempts to resolve the situation, the former employees are now risking infringement on the success of a locally owned and operated business, as well as those currently in its employ. Danielle and her leadership acknowledge the concerns that have been raised and wish to assure stakeholders, employees, and the community that they have taken significant steps to address the issues and learn from this experience.

Owners of Apericena recognize the importance of fostering a workplace culture where employees feel valued, respected, and heard. They are committed to addressing concerns promptly and fairly, while upholding the principles of integrity and fairness – even when aspersions are cast against the business.

Danielle states that her priorities, and those of the businesses she owns, remain focused on the well-being and satisfaction of her employees, and they will continue conducting business in a way that reflects her and her company’s values and commitment to excellence.

Danielle has continuously expressed her gratitude to her employees, customers, and stakeholders for their support and understanding as they navigate through this extremely difficult time in their Boise-based business. Through it all, they remain fully committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and respect in all aspects of their business operations.

Prior to this release, Danielle has welcomed participation in conversations with local news publications wishing to gather more information on this issue. The Idaho Abortion Rights group refused to communicate with several representatives of La Bonté Brands, publicly announcing they would block any attempt of communication with the hospitality group regarding their role in spreading misinformation and causing long-term damage to the business.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact La Bonté Brands at"

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story, which has been updated with additional information from the restaurant owner since our story initially aired.)

Will workers at this north end Boise restaurant get their wages?

It's a topic that caught my attention, when I saw a local Facebook post going viral.

Screenshot from Boise Food Finds Facebook page

The poster alleged she worked at Apericena in Hyde Park for 5 days in January, but never saw a paycheck. So, I sat down with Chanie Moser to hear her out.

She says the red flags started flying on her first day on the job, "It was payday, so a lot of employees were in to get their paychecks but the paychecks weren't done," Moser said.

Moser said these warning signs continued through the next week she worked, and after hearing stories about others waiting to be paid, she decided she wanted to quit.

"I can't work for someone who blatantly doesn't pay people," said Moser.

I've talked with other employees, who tell me it's happened on several occasions.

"The paychecks came in and I didn't have one," Said James Fry about his first pay day at Apericena. "Then I found out they pay a month behind, is what I was told."

The owner of the restaurant, Danielle Christine, says the employee's claims are unfounded. She says James Fry was paid his full amount on time when he was employed with the company.

But Moser says after she quit, she requested a check, just under $500.

"The following payday came, it didn't show up on that payday. The payday after that came, it didn't show up on that payday, so I submitted a claim with the Idaho Department of Labor in February," Moser said.

Moser shared those documents with me, the total award they set - $964. The total almost doubled, because Moser was awarded penalties.

She says two months after she made the claim, she still hasn't seen any money.

Christine told Idaho News 6 she is currently in communication with the Idaho Department of Labor about Moser's complaint.

Moser wasn't the only one to bring her concerns to the authorities. I found a third employee with similar complaints of not being paid.

While digging through court documents I found an active small claims case against Christine by Ella Hoffhine. It says a check was paid for $444 but it bounced, so she claims she's never been paid.

"Ultimately I just worked there four days," said Hoffhine

Hoffhine, like Moser, she says she quit after just a handful of shifts in February.

She says it took her weeks to get a paycheck, and when she tried to cash it, "It said that the account was bouncing for insufficient funds," Hoffhine said.

Hoffhine says she's calculated what she's owed and now she's taking Christine to court.

"I put more hours trying to get my first paycheck than I ever spent working at the restaurant," Hoffhine said.

Christine declined to meet me for an interview but did send me documents that claim initial checks bounced because the restaurant switched banks. She also says she made that clear to Hoffhine. Christine also provided a copy of the final check she says Hoffine received. Christine says that check was for more than what Hoffine was owed.

I also found Christine's response to the lawsuit, in which she claims Hoffhine has been paid what she was owed, and that the former employee is demanding much more than what she's entitled to.

Hoffhine says, those are fees and penalties she's entitled to as a result of the unpaid wages.

Mediation in the civil lawsuit is scheduled for May 22.

For the former employees, they say the situation they've been put in isn't right.

"A couple paychecks isn't a big deal to her, but that could be a make or break situation for somebody trying to pay rent or take care of their family," Hoffhine said.