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Former Marea Chef to Open Swanky New Spot for Midtown Power Brokers

Michael White is opening a new Italian restaurant, which will join soon-to-open places from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Burke

Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Coca-Cola - Barilla’s Italian Table hosted by Giada De Laurentiis
Michael White at a past New York Wine and Food Festival.
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF
Melissa McCart is the editor for Eater New York.

Chef Michael White has signed a lease to open his own restaurant at 520 Madison Avenue, near East 53rd, in partnership with Tishman Speyer — the real estate company behind the massive Rockefeller Center revamp — a “modern-Italian place” for Midtown power brokers.

It’s a homecoming of sorts: White formerly ran Alto, once a New York Times three-star Italian spot in this location with partner Chris Cannon with whom he parted ways in 2011.

Known for classic Italian and luxurious pasta dishes, White made a mark on Manhattan’s restaurant landscape in 2002 as executive chef of the now-closed Fiamma Osteria from Steve Hanson, founder of BR Guest. He eventually followed Fiamma with Marea, which earned a three-star New York Times review, best new restaurant in 2010 from the James Beard Foundation, and two Michelin stars in the 2012 guide.

White joins a handful of high-dollar restaurant chefs in the area who will open restaurants nearby in the coming months, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten who will open his 14,000 square-foot, two-story Four Twenty Five at 425 Park Avenue near East 57th Street in the giant space that was slated for Eleven Madison, in October, a spokesperson confirms. Not far, Simon Kim will open a three-story restaurant at 550 Madison Avenue, between East 55th and East 56th streets, in partnership with Olayan Group, the Saudi investment company that bought the building that used to be Sony headquarters.

For well over a decade, Marea — now closed for renovations — has held its own among the city’s top restaurants as a destination for the power-lunch set. The Altamarea Group under White also opened Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori in Manhattan, as well as a handful of offshoots in New Jersey; Long Island; Washington, D.C.; Miami Beach; Dubai; and Istanbul, and Riyadh.

During the pandemic, White broke up with Altamarea Group he co-founded with Ahmass Fakahany in 2008. Post-pandemic, White has had a journey of chef gigs which has included reopening Times Square Lambs Club in the Chatwal Hotel from April 2022 (before leaving a year later), as well as overseeing the kitchen in Miami at Lido Restaurant and Champagne Bar at the Surf Club in the Four Seasons.

The new restaurant from White will join a handful of big-name openings in a neighborhood that took a major hit during COVID, lately known more for its swath of expensive empty office towers than its restaurants.

David Burke’s 6,200-square-foot Park Avenue Kitchen will open at 277 Park Avenue, near East 47th Street, on December 1, he told the Post. Rosemary’s, which has been on an expansion tear, is also opening at 825 Third Avenue at East 50th.