Keith McNally — the seminal New York restaurateur who rose to fame with hip downtown spots like Balthazar, Pastis, and the now-closed Schiller’s Liquor Bar — has been hospitalized in London with what he says is the novel coronavirus, per his own Instagram.
The British-born restaurateur tells Eater he was admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Sunday. “Constantly on oxygen and constantly weak,” he wrote in an Instagram post, adding that “NHS staff are wonderful,” referring to National Health Service, the publicly-funded healthcare system of the United Kingdom.
The post shows McNally with an oxygen tube affixed to his nose.
When reached via email, McNally responded in a typically McNally-esque fashion:
I was admitted Sunday night after feeling so weak I couldn’t stand without help. I had a raging headache, a high temperature, constant sweats and a delusion that Trump was running the country. The only benefit to this virus is London’s roads are blissfully free of traffic and the ambulance got me [there] in ten minutes.
McNally wrote in a follow-up email that his lungs have improved enough to avert a more serious treatment. “Though still weak and sweating a lot, I feel I’m getting slightly better. Unfortunately, my appetite and sense of humour have gone totally missing,” he added.
McNally, who is in his 60s, has previously suffered from a stroke that paralyzed his right side. Following the stroke, he enlisted his children Sophie and Harry to keep his businesses running. He also teamed up with mega-restaurateur Stephen Starr to reboot Pastis in the Meatpacking District when it reopened last year.
COVID-19 has sickened over 1.5 million people worldwide, per the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, with more than 61,000 confirming positive for the virus in the United Kingdom. The virus has killed nearly 90,000 globally.
McNally’s New York restaurants are currently closed amid the statewide prohibition on dining in, with the exception of Minetta Tavern, which is open for takeout and delivery.