An owner of French fine dining institution Le Cirque distanced the restaurant from controversial comments made on social media last week — saying that a social media manager is the one who called Trump-hating Yelpers “social media Nazi white supremacists.”
Mauro Maccioni, one of the sons of the restaurant’s original owner Sirio Maccioni, writes in an email that a man named Carlo Mantica is the person who responded to Yelpers with the strong language — not Sirio, who is in Italy, Mauro writes.
“It was a mistake to engage, and Mr. Mantica’s views are his own and not those of the company,” Mauro wrote in an email.
Last week, a few negative reviews started popping up on the Midtown West restaurant’s Yelp page after it hosted President Donald Trump for a GOP fundraising event, where tickets cost a minimum of $35,000 per person. An account under Sirio’s name publicly responded, calling one anti-Trump Yelper a “social media Nazi white supremacist who incites hate and violence against hard working immigrant restaurant workers.”
In an email, Mantico denied that anybody from Le Cirque called people white supremacists. Mario Maccioni — another brother and owner who issued a statement to Eater on Friday — responded to an exchange about the situation with: “That is hilarious. Such nonsense. Who really cares.”
By Monday, Yelp started monitoring the restaurant’s page for further Trump-related reviews. Nearly 20 reviews mentioning the controversy have been hidden. Posts on Le Cirque’s Facebook page with pictures of Trump’s appearance at the restaurant last week have been removed, and one of Sirio with liberal commentators James Carville and Paul Begala had been added, with the caption “conservative and liberal pundits love us.”
Mauro noted in a statement that Le Cirque is a “bipartisan restaurant” that has served people from both sides of the aisle, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
“Our top priority is our 50-plus employees. If our business helps them put food on their family's table, we have fulfilled our obligation,” Mauro writes. “As my father would say, if we were smart, we would not be in this biz and we would do a better job at catering to the more 'compassionate' side, better satisfying our media and critical friends. . We do not have that luxury.”
Le Cirque has been open since 1974 and is one of the city’s most well-known upscale French restaurants. It’s been at its current location at 151 East 58th Street since 2006, and Sirio Maccioni, who can still be spotted working maitre d’ in the restaurant, is a legend.
Earlier this year, the restaurant filed for bankruptcy, and now, it’s future is uncertain. Staffers have been telling regulars that the restaurant may close by the end of the year, but a third Maccioni son named Marco insisted that the family is still invested in saving Le Cirque.