I post this at the risk of being labeled the boy who cried “McNally!”…. In June, you may recall, restaurateur Keith McNally was said to be looking at the Capsouto Frères space, although it turned out to be two of his former colleagues (and they didn’t take it). But here’s a rumor that makes an intriguing amount of sense: Is McNally moving Balthazar to the Ace Hotel opening in 5 Beekman, a.k.a. Temple Court?
The email I received from a reader:
I was patronizing a small business near Nassau and Beekman last week. I was talking with the owner when another local owner came in to get info on the “this story about Balthazar.” Basic info was shared that essentially included: the space in Soho is going away and they relocating to the new hotel (in the Beekman bldg?). They confirmed that their stories were similar. Take it for what it’s worth. I’d bet a dollar on it happening. But no more than that.
I think I might raise that bet to at least $10. Look at the reasons it could be true:
••• In April, Gael Greene—who is undoubtedly plugged in—tweeted that Balthazar would close when its lease was up. McNally denied it—but nothing was said about whether it might move.
••• A hotel location definitely suits a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
••• The building is spectacular, and Ace—which partnered with Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield at its other location—clearly likes a big-name restaurateur (and has to know the Beekman location needs one).
••• The rent would be a hell of a lot less than on Spring Street.
••• It’s within Blahnik distance of 1 World Trade, and Condé Nast employees are going to have to eat—or pretend to eat?—somewhere. Currently, there’s nowhere glamorous below Chambers.
As for the cons:
••• FiDi isn’t Soho.
••• There will be a Denny’s two blocks away.
Last time I heard a McNally rumor, I called to see if anyone would comment, and I was told I’d have to write a letter and mail it. So let’s consider this that letter, which will probably get posted via Eater.
Another serious possibility, of course, is that Ace has tapped the former colleagues mentioned above—Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, who opened Balthazar in 1997—to launch a restaurant in the hotel.