Upscale Gramercy steakhouse BLT Prime New York is shutting its doors after service today.
The restaurant — originally opened by acclaimed chef Laurent Tourondel and now just owned by hospitality behemoth ESquared — has been at 111 East 22nd St., between Lexington and Park avenues, for nearly 13 years. Since then, it’s spawned locations in DC and Miami inside Trump-branded hotels.
A spokesperson for ESquared said that restaurant is closing “due to ongoing construction and scaffolding,” as well as “prohibitive costs of rising New York City rent.”
BLT Prime opened in spring 2006, part of the partnership between Tourondel and Jimmy Haber of ESquared. The two used the BLT name, which stands for “Bistro Laurent Tourondel,” to create an empire of restaurants, including BLT Steak and BLT Burger. Prime served an amalgamation of dishes from other BLT restaurants, plus some of its own dishes, and was fairly well-received.
In 2010, the chef and Haber split, but the restaurants kept the name; after a messy lawsuit, Tourondel gained legal rights to his name. ESquared now pays him a licensing fee, and even has a BLT Prime location with another chef’s name added, David Burke. Meanwhile, Tourondel has his own restaurants called BLT.
ESquared still has many restaurants in New York, including By Chloe, the Florentine, the Wayfarer, and Dez.