Celebrity chef Todd English briefly returned to the New York City restaurant scene — as the partner at the restaurant that opened late February, Pappas Taverna in Greenwich Village, which claimed to be the revival of the “first Greek restaurant ever in NYC” — until the partnership dissolved less than a month after opening.
It wasn’t just a comeback attempt for English, whose New York restaurants closed after he was accused of sexual harassment as part of a bigger lawsuit against the Plaza Hotel in 2017. Stratis Morfogen, the restaurateur behind Philippe Chow and the ever-expanding automated chain Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, touted the opening of “the original” Pappas Taverna as the return of his grandfather’s restaurant that debuted in 1910. (It had been closed for the last 48 years, according to a press release.)
“Creative differences, and not interested in being part of a nightclub, so cutting ties before the books opened up was the only move for us,” Morfogen tells Eater. He says that he and English are “good,” a spokesperson confirmed, and plan on resuming their partnership at a new location. The conflict allegedly arose between English and Morfogen on one side, and the money partner on the other; Morfogen and his spokesperson would not name the silent investor. Eater has reached out to English for comment.
Earlier this week, both restaurateurs had been scrubbed from the restaurant’s website, which is now run by Dream Hospitality, behind Asian fusion clubstaurant Sei Less, which was named in a lawsuit against Jue Lan Club — which Morfogen once owned — earlier this year. (Morfogen was involved in his own high-profile lawsuit earlier in his career, that like Sei Les, also involved alleged recipe stealing.)
English may still have New York projects in the works. Just about a year ago, English signed a lease for a 20,000-square-foot space at 15 Park Row, near City Hall, in the Financial District. A handful of other projects did not come to fruition, including a Chelsea food hall and a glitzy hotel restaurant in the Financial District. One of his biggest endeavors — which still remains closed to the public since the pandemic — was the food hall at the Plaza Hotel.
Outside of New York, English is affiliated with a hotel in Las Vegas and maintains a roster of other restaurants stamped with his name in places like Washington, D.C.; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alabama, and Dubai.
Update: March 31, 2023, 4:50 p.m.: This article was updated to include comments from Morfogen’s team.