Turns out it’s a no-go for celebrity chef Todd English’s Chelsea food hall plans. English had looked into taking over the cursed space that used to house Il Bastardo at 191 Seventh Avenue in Chelsea for a food hall with coffee, breads, pastries, cold-pressed juice, and Asian, Mediterranean, and European fare.
But Chelsea Now reports that English ended up not wanting to deal with the baggage of the space. Others previously had not been able to secure liquor licenses here, and once English’s team learned that Il Bastardo owners would still be involved in the location, they pulled out.
“It was an integrity move. We did not want any association with these same owners,” English’s director of restaurant development Flip Arbelaez told Chelsea Now. “The worst thing we could do is put our investor’s money into play and lose it.”
Now, the team is scouting other locations, despite saying they wished they could stay at this space. English’s team also threw a lot of shade Food Network star Kristin Sollenne’s way in the process. “If the lease were terminated and we had a second chance to go in front of the board without Kristin Sollenne involved, we would,” Arbelaez said.
Sollenne is the wife of the former Il Bastardo owner and was originally going to take over the space. Now, Justin Timberlake-created Memphis-style restaurant Southern Hospitality has applied for a liquor license in the space.
This isn’t nearly the first time English has pulled out of and closed projects, like with The English at the W Downtown. English currently operates The Todd English Food Hall and Figs at LaGuardia, but his now-closed list includes Olives, CrossBar, Chateau Cherbuliez, Ember Room, The Libertine, and English Is Italian. He also announced plans last year for the American Market by Todd English, nearly 12,000-square-feet of market space in the historic New York Times building at 229 West 43rd St., near Times Square, though that has not yet open.
The chef — previously known for being a big party guy — was also recently accused of sexually harassing staff at his food hall in The Plaza Hotel.