Empire Building

Laurent Tourondel Sees a Diner in Manhattan’s Future

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Laurent Tourondel just opened his LT Burger in Sag Harbor on July 13, but the chef is already planning new projects. “New York needs a good diner,” he decreed. “I’ve done fine dining for twenty years and I’m bored of it. I want to find a great diner spot and bring a better way to make omelettes, French toast, and a good fried-chicken steak.”

He also wants to launch lower-priced steakhouses. “I have an idea to build a concept the way I did BLT Steak, but something with a lower check average,” he told Grub Street. “I’m looking at a couple of spaces now —one is midtown and one is uptown on the east side, but I haven’t signed anything yet.”

BLT Bar & Grill, the restaurant that bears the chef’s initials but is instead controlled by his former partner, Jimmy Haber, is scheduled to open next week in the W Hotel downtown (it won’t be serving Fat Tire as previously indicated). Don’t expect the chef to stop in for a burger. “What exists exists and I cannot change it,” he said in his best philosophical tone. “I turned the page and I am not looking back; I am looking forward.”

Laurent Tourondel Sees a Diner in Manhattan’s Future