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Four Seasons’ Return Is Questionable Amid ‘Me Too’ Movement, Critic Says

Julian Niccolini pleaded guilty to groping a family friend in 2016

Alex Von Bidder, Trideep Bose, and Julian Niccolini at 280 Park Avenue, From Twilight of the Four Seasons
Alex Von Bidder, Trideep Bose, and Julian Niccolini at 280 Park Avenue, From Twilight of the Four Seasons
Photo by Gary He

Ahead of the debut of the new Four Seasons — expected to open later this spring — the Post’s Steve Cuozzo looks at the assault conviction that hangs over co-owner Julian Niccolini. Niccolini pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault case in 2016 for groping a woman during a private party, and it does not seem to have impacted the iconic restaurant’s reputation so far.

Cuozzo also points to a $4 million sexual-harassment suit involving Niccolini that led to an unknown settlement in 1992 and an incident in 2003 when Niccolini posed for photos in a cap that said “Boob Inspector.”

Though Cuozzo says he tried to ask a few restaurateurs their thoughts, only Drew Nieporent, co-owner of Batard, Tribeca Grill, and Nobu, talked. Nieporent thinks Niccolini and the Four Seasons team can overcome past scandal if they’re careful about their actions moving forward. “That means no drinking, no fraternizing, no touching people,” he said.

The Four Seasons closed in its iconic Seagram Building space at 99 East 52nd St. in 2016 after 57 years. Former Times critic William Grimes called it ”probably the most important New York restaurant of the 20th century”; owners Niccolini and Alex von Bidder got to work almost immediately to bring it back. There has been no confirmation about who will be cooking for the reboot, but the Post story notes that sources say Bidder and Niccolini have hired Diego Garcia from Gloria.

The Four Seasons is on track to make its grand comeback in May at 280 Park Ave. despite the situation involving Niccolini. The original story also quotes Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt, who has been outspoken against Niccolini.

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