According to a calm, cheery voice on its answering machine, Irving Mill is on vacation from August 29 to September 8. A tipster adds: "Their website's menu page is empty and they have no slots on OpenTable for days." There's no scandal there, really. Many of us go on vacation this time of year (cf: Daniel Maurer). The only difference? The restaurant is embroiled in a costly and contentious lawsuit with former chef John Schaefer, who, among other things, claims Irving Mill's owners, Suzanne, Mario, and Sergio Rivas, not only fired him unjustly but, more important for the issue at hand, used restaurant monies to pay for private parties, comps, and babysitters. And then, poof, just like that, Labor Day vacation.
Suspicious omens abound if you're looking for them. The Menu section on the website, for instance, is eerily empty. But right now, we're stuck like the wife whose husband is working late but soon might never come home. Dinner is steaming on the table; in a few hours (or, in our case, on September 8) our fears may evaporate. Irving Mill will return, tan and refreshed. On the other hand, it's a thin line between vacation and a fugitive's flight — just ask Giuseppe Cipriani.