There's a fresh rumor this morning that Lee Hanson, who has been a chef at large since his split with Keith McNally last year, may be taking over El Quijote, the popular, retro old Spanish restaurant in the Hotel Chelsea. The 84-year-old restaurant was acquired by the Chelsea Hotels group, which is in the process of renovating the iconic hotel, back in June. At the time the group (which also owns the Martha Washington and the McCarren Hotel) promised that it would keep the charming old El Quijote relatively intact, with the same staff and the same basic menu.
This new rumor should be taken with several grains of salt — Jeremiah Moss says it comes from "two very rich moms," by way of a tipster. But if there is any truth to it, the restaurant may be in for an update along the lines of what Hanson and his co-chef Riad Nasr did with McNally at Minetta Tavern. Back in March Nasr and Hanson were rumored to be planning a restaurant in the West Village, but no more news on that has materialized, nor is there any word as to whether Nasr might also be involved at El Quijote. Eater has reached out to Hanson and Nasr, as well as to the Chelsea Hotels group. Stay tuned for updates.