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Balthazar’s Keith McNally Is Out of the Hospital Following COVID-19

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“Fantastic to be alive!” the restaurateur writes

Keith McNally in 2016, wearing a black sweater with a white collar
Keith McNally in 2016
Nick Solares/Eater

After eight days in the hospital, Keith McNally is out and doing better. The famed restaurateur behind NYC icons like Balthazar and Pastis announced last Thursday that he had been hospitalized in London for COVID-19 “after feeling so weak I couldn’t stand without help.”

But on Monday, he posted a cheeky thank you to the hospital’s staff for their care and confirmed to Eater that he’s doing well. “Fantastic to be Alive! I honestly thought I might never open another restaurant! Quelle horreur!” he wrote in an email.

McNally entered the hospital with a high fever, sweats, and a headache, in addition to feelings of weakness. On the first night, doctors considered a severe measure that would blast McNally’s lungs with oxygen, telling him that only 50 percent of people who went through the treatment lived, McNally writes.

Ultimately, McNally’s condition improved without requiring the more intense treatment, he says. “Twice that night I was asked if I would like to be revived if my heart stopped,” he writes of his first night at the hospital. “It was like being asked if I wanted change from my $100 bill for a coffee. You fuckin’ bet I do!”

McNally, who is in his 60s, has previously suffered from a stroke that paralyzed his right side. Following the stroke, his children Sophie and Harry have been helping with the restaurant business. He also partnered with mega-restaurateur Stephen Starr for the Pastis revival in the Meatpacking District.

Globally, 1.8 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, with more than 118,000 deaths. Though the United States tops the list of countries as far as confirmed cases, the United Kingdom — where McNally now resides — currently has nearly 90,000 cases as of Monday.

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