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Third Time's a Charm as Donatella Picks Up New Partner

When restaurateur Donatella Arpaia's partnership with celeb chef David Burke went belly up in 2008, she turned to young, upcoming Greek star Michael Psilakis to open Kefi, Anthos, and Mia Dona. When that partnership then dissolved last year—leading to a division of the properties, the sale of Anthos—she seemed to be going it alone with two new projects: Donatella, the Chelsea pizzeria, and DBar, its next door neighbor. Apparently, she has coupled up once again.

Crain's reports today that Arpaia's new partner in crime is 43 year-old former Morgan Stanley CTO Ron Brannon. Brannon, who shies away from the limelight, will help to run the business side of things and will work on expansion plans while Arpaia works to promote her brand. He's also working on new software to sell throughout the restaurant industry.

Of course, there are already conflicts. Brannon is talking about opening a Donatella in Hong Kong (Arpaia isn't sold on the idea), he fired some of her staff members for not performing, and "Mr. Brannon raised concerns over his partner's huge investment in the gold-mosaic brick oven she had custom-made, flying in craftsmen from Naples to build it."
· Donatella Arpaia's new guy [Crain's]


184 8th Ave., New York, NY