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Chef Paul Qui’s Criminal Charges Are Being Dismissed

Police arrested the chef in March 2016 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend

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Paul Qui
Paul Qui
Nicolai McCrary/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Assault charges against chef Paul Qui are being dismissed. The chef was arrested in March 2016 for allegedly beating and bloodying his girlfriend in front of her child, and throwing “her several times into the walls, furniture, and doors,” according to the original police report. His trial, which had been pushed back several times, had been set to take place on Tuesday, May 1.

The charges were dropped because the alleged victim did not want to participate in the trial, as the Caldwell County’s district attorney Fred Weber told the Chronicle. Christopher Gunter, Qui’s lawyer, told the publication that the alleged victim had signed an affidavit of non-prosecution, which meant she didn’t want to pursue the case. Eater has reached out to Qui for further comments; watch this space for updates.

While awaiting the trial, Qui had kept himself busy anyway. He opened a Houston restaurant, Aqui, last summer, which led to much debate about the ethics of covering a restaurant run by someone who is accused of domestic violence. The restaurant still received rave reviews (though Houston Chronicle critic Alison Cook did write an essay laying out her conflicting thoughts on the restaurant), but was notably missing from the James Beard Awards’ long-list for 2018 (pastry chef Jillian Bartolome did nab a semifinalist nod though). This year, in light of the #MeToo movement, the James Beard Foundation asked the voting committee to not include people, businesses, or restaurant cultures that they “have concerns about.”

Qui is also in the middle of opening his first Dallas restaurant, a Japanese taqueria Tacqui, which seems to be opening very soon.

In Austin, Qui’s restaurants haven’t fared too well. His flagship restaurant Kuneho née Qui closed last fall after a revamp. (The Kemuri/Ramen Tatsu-ya team is taking over the vacant East 6th Street restaurant for a new restaurant.) He is no longer attached to Japanese omakase restaurant Otoko. East Side King is now down to two locations, the truck at Liberty and the South Lamar brick-and-mortar.