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BLOCKBUSTER: Steve Hanson Closes Fiamma, Ruby Foo's Uptown, Blue Water Grill Chicago

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SOHO—Two unidentified sources tell us that Steve Hanson's three-star Soho Italian restaurant, Fiamma, has closed. Hanson may be breaking the news to staff as we speak. The restaurant's reservations line is now transferring to BR Guest corporate offices, and then disconnects. Calls are in to Hanson's office and PR.

Update: B.R. Guest confirms the restaurant has closed. As they own this building, it will be turned into an events space. Chef Fabio Trabocchi, who secured three stars for the restaurant in March of this year, will not be staying on.

In addition to Fiamma, Steve Hanson tells us he has also closed Ruby Foo's on 77th Street and his Blue Water Grill in Chicago. These second two closures are the two-fold result of economic times and their leases ending this year. All closures are effective immediately. Staff at the restaurants will receive severance.

Reached by phone, Hanson said, "I just couldn't sustain the restaurant with one 6:00-9:30 seating. And on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays we weren't even doing that. Wall Street's [woes] have been devastating to business. These guys just don't have the expense accounts anymore. Fabio was great to work with, the staff was great. It's all a product of the economy."

And now, the official statement from B.R. Guest:

New York – January 14, 2009 – B.R. Guest, LLC announced today that Fiamma in New York, NY, will close and become a full-service event space. Fiamma’s three-floor townhouse will feature menus from existing B.R. Guest concepts for private functions.
“I am proud of the work the staff of Fiamma has done under Chef Fabio Trabocchi," said B.R. Guest president and founder Stephen Hanson. “It has been a pleasure to work with such an outstanding talent and wish him much success in the future.”
The end of the partnership between B.R. Guest and Chef Fabio Trabocchi is an amicable one, as the current economic climate does not support such an upscale operation like Fiamma.
“I would like to thank Stephen Hanson for his support, and unfortunately this is a very difficult decision that we both agree on,” said Trabocchi. "During my time at Fiamma, the restaurant was able to reach great achievements thanks to the fully dedicated staff and management team.”
[Last Update: 12:00 PM]