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EaterWire AM Edition: Chef Willis Loughhead Out at Doomed Country

MADISON SQ PARK— Following the news last week that the debut of Country Steak (the new incarnation of the upstairs at Country) would be delayed from fall '08 to March '09, we're not entirely surprised to learn that the restaurant's head chef Willis Loughhead has given his notice. Loughhead says he plans on sticking around for a couple more weeks to help Adam Block et al. find a replacement. They have looked at a handful of chefs including some members of Loughhead's staff, however, we've heard rumors that two sous have already left or given notice, wine director William Rhodes is out, and others are planning on following suit. As for Loughhead, he tells us he simply didn't want to be inactive for such a long period and never envisioned working at a steakhouse.

Loughhead tells us he's now considering opening up his own space, ideally a 40 seat spot in the West Village with an emphasis on the wine program. If he can't find the right real estate, he's considering taking on a few six-month long consulting jobs to keep busy.

This is just the latest blow to befall the troubled restaurant. Considering they'll need to drop a huge sum of money into renovating the kitchen for the steakhouse and will now have a major chunk of potential revenue shut off for the next six months (or more), it's not looking good for Team Country. And you can bet any potential chef will have some reservations taking on a job at what could be considered a sinking ship.
· EaterWire Midday Edition: Country Steak Delayed Until March '09 [~E~]
· All Country Coverage [~E~]