Two years after it reopened to the public following a lengthy renovation and just days after word leaked that the owners of the Plaza Hotel were suing the operators of the legendary old bar and restaurant, the Times reports that The Oak Room is set to close at the end of July. In March, lease negotiations between the operator, Eli Gindi, and the owners of the Plaza broke down, mainly because the Plaza folks demanded that the Gindi discontinue his lucrative but sexed up weekend afternoon parties, which apparently offended the delicate sensibilities of the year-round residents.
Problem is, Gindi needs those parties, where he claims he can make up to $180,000 in an afternoon. He's already gone through two chefs—Joel Antunes and Eric Hara—and had to have his rent reduced from $125,000 a month to $50,00. Gindi says that the success of Todd English's lower level food court pretty much killed what restaurant business he had left. According to the lawsuit, he still owes $900,000 in back rent.
Gindi gave the condo/hotel 90 days departure notice a few weeks ago, and the Plaza says they're in talks with potential new operators.
· Oak Room Is Set to Close After Rent Fight With Plaza Hotel [NYT]
· All Coverage of The Oak Room [~ENY~]