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Deathwatch: Dani

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In a neighborhood like Soho, the right team could make Dani work. Don Pintobona is cooking high quality Italian food in a relaxed, if not a tad bit loud, dining room with a perfectly reasonable price point. But in the far reaches of West Soho, where even getting a crowd during lunch is a struggle, Dani is a real stinker. Initially, the plan was to open Dani, like most other restaurants, for lunch and dinner six or seven nights a week. That's when Bruni one-starred it. Then they renovated and decided lunch and private events (including this completely ass-backwards cook-it-yourself stunt) was the prudent tack. But, let's think this through: even a full dining room for four hours a day, without dinner-type booze sales, can't possibly be a profitable proposition. And we did a spot check today, which indicated a half-full dining room at 12:30 and a completely empty dining room at 3:00 PM. Furthermore, who is throwing all these dinner parties in a year-old, not-hot restaurant? Answer: post Christmas, once the office holiday party season ends, no one. Our prediction is that the next phase here is for Dani to become a pizza joint with a strong emphasis on delivery and massive happy hour deals. After that, perhaps it'll try Mexican. In any case, it's over.
· Dani [danirestaurant.com]

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