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Could the Credit Crunch Kill Off the Free Standing Restaurant?

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In his column this week, The Cuozz complains that there are no more interesting, new restaurants to visit. The boom years of restaurant openings have officially come to a close, marked especially by McNally's impending pizza joint, Steve Hanson's burger spot, and Michael White's Italian truck stop. Why? The credit crunch, "the impossibility of raising and/or borrowing the money needed for such ambitious, expansively crafted launches as SD26 and DBGB."

We've heard restaurateurs complaining about this exact issue for the last year and a half, as even some of the most successful operators have been unable to borrow the cash for massive free-stadnding projects. Hence, all of the new projects in hotels (Standard Grill, Ma Peche, The Breslin, The Lambs Club, Maialino, Mark, Faustina), museums (The Wright, Robert), and malls (Grimaldi's, A Voce), "where the landlord might pay for all or part of the megabucks buildout."

Of course, McNally, Hanson, and White will probably contend that their new standalone projects required all kinds of capital, regardless of how downmarket or casual the menus are.
· Bottom Feeders [NYP]

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