Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian and his wife and business partner Margaret Zakarian have split ways with the Lambs Club, the high-profile restaurant that the Food Network star co-founded in the Chatwal hotel at 132 West 44th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, in Midtown. Zakarian chalks the move up to a mid-pandemic change in direction to focus more on his other restaurants and retail line. “This was a COVID-based decision,’’ he says.
Chatwal hotel owner Sant Chatwal and partner David Rabin — a longtime NYC restaurateur also behind other Manhattan spots including Sona in Flatiron and Veranda at the Modernhaus hotel in Soho — will continue to operate the celebrity hot spot while searching for a new chef. “I’m grateful for the time working with old friends Margaret and Geoffrey and wish them well on all their exciting endeavors,” Rabin said in an email. “Looking forward to continuing the Lambs Club and working with Mr. Chatwal in his beautiful hotel.’’
The Lambs Club temporarily closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic and, though the space reopened in October 2021, it is currently only serving hotel guests under the title Chatwal Hotel restaurant, according to Rabin. It will reopen soon as the Lambs Club with a new chef at the helm, he says, although no exact opening date was shared.
Zakarian’s departure leaves a gap in the one-two punch of a celebrity chef and trendy restaurateur. The restaurant, which opened in 2010, was known for serving dishes such as sliced pastrami tableside. It thrived on cultivating an atmosphere akin to a private club, with large red leather booths and an oversized fireplace, and it quickly became a power lunch spot that drew regular diners from media world juggernauts including Viacom, Condé Nast and HBO. Celebrities and politicians including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bono, Warren Beatty, Anna Wintour, Misty Copeland and Ben Affleck have all dined at the restaurant, and a private room drew Mick Jagger among other partiers. Early reviews of the restaurant were mixed.
As for Zakarian, he is shifting his attention to his more casual restaurant, the National. “Going forward, I have decided to focus my attention on growing the National brand of restaurants and developing new restaurant projects in New York, Florida and the Middle East, including the National by Geoffrey Zakarian that just debuted at the Dubai World Expo,’’ Zakarian said in an email. He also plans to expand his food and cookware retail business, and continue to develop television projects with his production company Corner Table Entertainment.