Notable restaurant world villain landlord Aby Rosen apparently doesn’t want the new restaurants in the former Four Seasons to be known primarily as power spots anymore.
The landlord of the Seagram Building, where Major Food Group recently opened restaurants The Grill and The Pool in landmarked spaces, spoke to writer Gabe Ulla for Town & Country this week about the revamps, which required a whopping $32 million.
To fund it, Rosen found “a nice mix of hedge fund guys, fashionistas, rich guys,” he says. Ultimately, those 100 people each brought on a bunch of friends. NBA star Kevin Durant is one of those investors, and the piece revealed that fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger is one, too.
If that sounds different from the legacy folk like Henry Kissinger that used to frequent the Four Seasons, it’s because Rosen designed it that way. The landlord — apparently nostalgic for his days of partying at Studio 54 in the ‘70s — wants the restaurants to be fun, with “the fun, the late night, the gay, the flamboyant” coming in to dine, he says:
The high rollers you get. The money you get. It’s expensive. You aren’t coming here for a cheap meal. You get the people who want to spend. If you deliver, they come back. But you also want the fun people. Not all can afford dinner at $250 a person, but I think we’ll get the right mix.
He particularly enjoyed seeing two drag queens arrive at The Grill when it first opened.
That said, Rosen knows he’s not widely loved. Many high profile regulars of the Four Seasons blasted Rosen for wanting to make the changes, saying that it was an institution. But he does not care. “I have zero issue with coming off as a villain in the press,” he tells the magazine. “I go to bed at night knowing what I did wrong and what I did right.”
Check out the full profile of Rosen here.
Note: this post has been updated and corrected.