Midwood Facing a Second DiFara Crisis As Health Department RevisitsEast Village: Plans for the Bowery Hotel’s subterranean Japanese restaurant get scrapped for a spa. [Down by the Hipster] Drown your sorrows (or pickup takeout sushi) and head to Astor Wines for over 50 varieties of shochu, the Japanese alcohol that “goes down easy.” [Gridskipper]
Fort Greene: The first South African restaurant in the United States, Madiba, has just been closed by the Department of Health. [VV]
Long Island City: Junior’s Cheesecake and Harry’s Water Taxi Beach are among the participants in tomorrow night’s Taste of LIC to support the Chocolate Factory’s arts programs. [The Chocolate Factory]
Midtown West: Starwood’s new (opening in 2010) green hotel overlooking Bryant Park will feature restaurants by Stephen Hanson. [Gothamist]
Midwood: DiFara closed by the Department of Health for the second time since March. Dom, please just wear the hat. [Eater]
Back of the House
Hanson, Now Inside Starwood, to Start Gobbling Other Restaurant GroupsYou didn’t think that Starwood Capital’s 50 percent purchase of B.R. Guest Restaurant Group (a story we broke here, as it happens) was the end of their plans, did you? In business as in evolution, bigness begets bigness, and now word comes, via this week’s issue of Crain’s, that a new group inside Starwood will go on a restaurant-group shopping spree. Hanson is said to already be sending candy and flowers to fellow moguls from coast to coast. But his, and Starwood’s criteria, are very clear: “Any business [Hanson] considers must be a chef-driven operation that owns multiple eateries and brings in revenues of at least $30 million,” the report says. The Craft empire is mentioned in passing as a possible target, and its ruler, Tom Colicchio, says he would listen if Hanson came calling. With the kind of cash Starwood commands, who wouldn’t? Money talks, and independent operations tend to walk.
B.R. Guest to acquire other restaurant groups [Crain’s]
Earlier: B.R. Guest and Buy Our Restaurant Group
Does David Burke Come With That Steakhouse?
Back of the House
B.R. Guest and Buy Our Restaurant GroupWe hear from one of our most reliable sources that a very, very big restaurant deal is about to go through. According to him, the B.R. Guest group, owners of fourteen big Manhattan restaurants including Atlantic Grill, Fiamma, and the Dos Caminos locations, are about to be sold to zillionaire Barry Sternlicht of the Starwood Capital group. B.R. Guest denies it, but apparently, owner Steve Hanson has been looking to unload the group for some time and is already doing business with Sternlicht, a former hotel magnate now wheeling and dealing in private equity and real estate. Looks like we’re about to be somebody else’s guest.