Keil reports today that Molto Mario & Co. have violated their lease agreement on the space that is Del Posto and, accordingly, have been slapped with an eviction notice. Somerset Partners, the company that owns the building claim issues with 'Il Posto LLC' range from unauthorized use of common basement space to the disabling of building security cameras. Mario's camp doesn't deny the charges, but says fixing the issues would cost roughly $500,000 (or, the dinner tab for four) and the closure of Posto for 2 1/2 months. Per Keil:
While the "Iron Chef America" star couldn't be reached for comment, his partner, restaurateur Joseph Bastianich, is playing down the legal action. "We hope a resolution can be reached amicably," he said.So, it looks like the classic game of Chicken is underway with both sides pretty firmly planted. We'd say it's likely they'll throw up some new security cameras, Mario et al will agree to a slight rent increase for the basement space and everyone will kiss and make up over a bowl of pasta, but who knows. Frank "Gavin White" Bruni: our recommendation is to hold off on your review until this thing shakes out.
But the landlords aren't hopeful. "There's been plenty of interest by other restaurants who would like to rent the space," said Keith Rubenstein, a principal of Somerset Partners.
"We assume they're going to try to delay the process until they've had a chance to relocate."
· Mario in Molto Landlord Trouble [NYP]