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Hubris or Genius? Bagatelle Takes Over 2 Doomed Spots

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It's amazing what a year of champagne brunches will do. The Post reveals this morning that the nightlife mavens at Bagatelle in the Meatpacking District (they of the weirdly recession-proof brunch) are planning an outpost in Midtown. This, of course, comes on the heels of the news that they're opening up shop in a second MePa location for an Italian brasserie. But this isn't just any normal expansion. The Bagatelle team are taking two of the biggest belly flop spaces of '08/'09: Merkato 55 and Atria (almost known as Gneiss and once known as Grayz). The former's drawn out year-long death is chronicled here; the latter lasted just four months. And of course it should be noted they're also involved in the opening of Gansevoort 69, the restaurant in the haunted Florent space.

Are the Bagatelle operators sending a message to the restaurant gods that they can survive where others have failed, no matter the space, the history, the neighborhood? Perhaps, but the Atria broker reports they won after a heated bidding war with four other restaurant groups, meaning either the opening price was ridiculous or this industry is on the verge of a comeback. We wonder if the Scrollatropes are included in the deal.
· North Outpost [NYP]
· All Atria Coverage [~ENY~]
[photo credit]

Bagatelle Midtown

13 West 54th St., New York, NY