Longtime Houston restaurant industry figure Joshua Martinez has resigned his post at River Oaks restaurant State of Grace following the filing of a lawsuit that accuses him of sexual assault.
Martinez was named in a lawsuit earlier this week filed by an anonymous plaintiff referred to as “Jane Doe” in court documents, according to the SETexasRecord. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that Martinez sexually assaulted a former employee of the OKRA Charity Saloon, which Martinez co-founded, at a hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2014. Doe further alleges that she suffered multiple physical injuries and mental trauma as a result of the assault.
Along with OKRA Charity Saloon, Martinez was also involved with now-shuttered restaurants Goro & Gun and The Chicken Ranch before their closure. According to Houston Food Finder, Martinez was most recently employed at chef Ford Fry’s State of Grace. When reached for comment, a representative for State of Grace tells Eater that Martinez, a former assistant manager, has resigned his post. “He decided to resign to focus on the defense of the lawsuit,” the rep said. “Ford Fry Restaurants accepted his resignation.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, OKRA Charity Saloon says that they asked for his resignation from the bar as a result of “allegations about Joshua Martinez’s conduct outside of the bar.” “We learned more about other alleged Martinez behaviors following this resignation, but never in this detail,” the statement reads. “We fully support all women, including the victim, in pursuing action against their abusers. We feel any person who has perpetrated these crimes should be financially and criminally responsible to the fullest extent of the law. We would like to do anything possible to aid in this process.”
This lawsuit is at least the third to be filed against a Houston hospitality professional alleging sexual assault in the last six months. In January, a woman filed suit against Brennan’s of Houston alleging that a bartender and manager at the restaurant drugged and raped her in 2015. In May, a former manager at Pub Fiction was accused of sexual assault by a former employee in a $5 million lawsuit.
Online court records do not indicate that Martinez has filed a response to the lawsuit in court, and a trial date has not yet been set.