In a move to offset growing financial problems and poor early reviews, the Russian Tea Room and owner Hasan Biberaj have fired their executive chef, the once three-stared Gary Robins. As first reported by the RG, Robins' last day at RTR was Friday, February 2nd.
In conversations with Eater this past weekend, Robins made clear that this was not a mutual parting of ways. Rather, Robins was dismissed as part of the historic West 57th Street restaurant's attempts to cut costs and remain open. According to Robins, "after doing close to 1.5 million in sales between Nov and Dec, we really had not paid any of our vendors, so the amount of money that had to go out in January was huge - figure 25%-30% of sales. Couple that with our drop in business, from $40,000.00+ a day, to an average of $10,000.00 daily and obviously the owner freaked out."
More on this story later, including Robins' thoughts on RTR's chances for survival long term and where the Bruni factors in.
· Breaking News - Russian Tea Room [RG]
· Eater Inside: Russian Tea Room [~E~]