Vanity Fair's January issue, online now, runs an exposé on the Plaza Hotel developer and the lawsuits and complaints surrounding the new private residences. The piece mostly focuses on the new apartments and the shoddy materials used for the renovation, but there's an intriguing bit in there about the Oak Room and Oak Bar. As it did with major retailers, the developer, El-Ad Properties, tried to lure big time restaurateurs with an old real estate trick:
"According to other sources, it was the same for those restaurateurs looking to take over the Oak Room and the Oak Bar. (The editor of this magazine was approached by El-Ad about the two spaces, but nothing came of the discussions.) Frederick Lesort, of Frederick’s on Madison, claims he was told by El-Ad that there was a bidding war and it needed an offer on the table—now! Lesort was skeptical.
...According to another restaurateur who considered the space, 'They said, Well, if you don’t take it, Danny Meyer...is going to take it. And then I’d call Danny Meyer and he’d be like, I don’t want that place.? And then they’d say, O.K., [renowned chef] Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] is going to take it...they’re too stupid to realize that it’s a small community of restaurateurs..."Sounds like the usual real estate shenanigans to us, but perhaps the developer could have used some caution before throwing around those big names.
· Eloise Sheds a Tear [VF]
· Vanity Fair's Plaza Exposé: Cheap Tactics, Cheaper Materials [Curbed]
· Eater Inside: The Oak Room [~E~]