Earlier today Gael Greene tweeted: "Devastating news that Balthazar will close at end of lease. I have always felt it was Paris in NY. Say it isn't so Keith. Pastis too." Well, it seems like restaurateur Keith McNally is, in fact, saying it isn't so. When reached for comment, the restaurateur said that Greene's statement, and any rumors like it, were "ridiculous" and "categorically not true." He did not elaborate further.
It's not the first time McNally has had to deny statements like Greene's. Over the past year, rumors have popped up about the potential shuttering and/or relocation of Pastis, thanks to a massive renovation plan of the building that houses it. About five months ago, the VP of Aurora Capital Associates, which is handling the renovation, said "We'd be happy to have them stay. We'll try to give them a [rent] break and be gentle." McNally also noted that he has a "harmonious" relationship with the landlord. In a more recent Wall Street Journal article, McNally bemoaned the fact that he was "at the mercy of the prices [he] created" and that the Pastis landlord was asking for a 400-percent increase.
The influential Balthazar, considered the crown jewel of McNally's empire, opened on Spring Street in 1997. McNally recently opened a second outpost in Covent Garden, London, where he is currently living.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, longtime co-executive-chefs at McNally restaurants Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's Liquor Bar, and Minetta Tavern, would be leaving the restaurant group to pursue other endeavors.