Rolf and Daughters slapped with wage-and-hour suit

Complaint alleges acclaimed restaurant didn't pay for hours spent doing prep

A former line cook at Rolf and Daughters is claiming the critically acclaimed restaurant regularly makes employees work for free.

Adam Ortega, who left the restaurant in December 2013, filed a federal fair labor lawsuit alleging that while he was required to show up for kitchen prep at noon, he wasn't allowed to clock in until 2 p.m. Ortega, who was paid $12 per hour, says this was a common practice, with similar restrictions placed on other employees. He is seeking class-action status.

Rolf and Daughters, whose chef is James Beard Award nominee Philip Krajeck (also named as a defendant in the suit), was included on Bon Appetit's magazine's list of the best new restaurants in America in 2013 and was the Nashville Scene's best restaurant in the 2013 Best of Nashville Awards.

Rolf and Daughters' attorney Ernie Williams, in an e-mailed statement, denied the charge.

"Rolf and Daughters local restaurant establishment actively involved in the Nashville and Germantown communities. It seeks to foster a healthy and productive environment for its family of workers. It strives in every way to strictly comply with all employment laws and takes any allegation of non-compliance seriously. Rolf's has never had a wage and hour or other employment claim," he said.