Acclaimed Italian spot Del Posto — long considered one of the city’s top upscale restaurants — is permanently shutting down after a 16-year run, according to the New York Times. But the restaurant won’t be dark for long: The Times reports that the space will reopen in the fall as three new establishments spearheaded in part by Del Posto’s former executive chef Melissa Rodriguez.
Del Posto’s former owners Lidia Bastianich, Joe Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali have sold the fine dining destination to Rodriguez; the restaurant’s general manager Jeff Katz; and Katz’s business partner at FiDi spot Crown Shy, chef James Kent. The price of the sale was not disclosed.
Details are sparse for what Rodriguez, Katz, and Kent plan to do with the space, although the yet-to-be-named businesses will include a cocktail bar, a casual restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza ovens, and a fine dining Italian spot “in the spirit of Del Posto,” according to the Times. All three partners posted a jazzy little video on Instagram on Sunday night of Del Posto getting cleared out to make way for the upcoming project.
During its run, Del Posto attracted plenty of critical praise for its extravagant Italian fare, including a four-star review in the Times in 2010. But the restaurant and its former ownership, the Bastianich family’s B&B Hospitality Group, has come under fire repeatedly in recent years for fostering a toxic workplace. Former co-owner and celebrity chef Mario Batali divested from all of his former restaurants, including Del Posto, in 2019 after being accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least 18 women in reports published in 2017 and 2018. The restaurant has remained closed to customers since the citywide shutdown last March due to the pandemic.
Now, Katz tells the Times that the trio wants to “make a clean break” from the restaurant’s past ownership. Rodriguez, who became Del Posto’s executive chef in 2017, will be the face of the new venture, while Katz and Kent will operate as her business partners. “I’m excited to get back and I’m going to do my best to rehire as many previous employees as I can,” Rodriguez tells Eater.
The space will start undergoing construction following an auction of Del Posto’s old items, including chairs, plates, and dining room fixtures, that will take place on Tuesday, April 13.
Update, 12:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with an additional comment from Rodriguez.