Main | Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Un-Closing Of Florent

After several hundred breast-beating and wailing posts from the gay and foodie blogosphere (including here on JMG), not to mention a zillion-word eulogy from the New York Times, today comes word via Eater that Florent is not closing this weekend after all. Except it is. But not really.
Though the MePa institution Florent will close this Sunday night, landlord Joanne Lucas has confirmed that she will reopen the space as R & L Restaurant, the restaurant that preceded Florent, just two days later. Lucas tells us that she initially shopped around the lease to a couple of retailers and eventually changed her mind: "We thought about having someone lease it but then I decided to just take it over myself. It used to be my father's diner before it was Florent."

And get this: she will be keeping pretty much the same menu as Florent and will keep on all the staff members that still work there. When asked why Florent isn't involved in the new evolution she responded, "Florent from what I understand is moving on to a new chapter in his life." Many will see this as a happy ending for the Florent saga. He may be gone, but the space will remain unchanged. Yet you still have to admit this was a clever move on Lucas' part, a way to rake in the revenue from an established restaurant at a time when even retailers aren't willing to pay the rent she was reportedly asking. This could be a temporary solution while she waits for a tenant.
What will Florent be like without its iconic namesake? No way to tell, but for now this is good news. And even if you aren't a foodie, you should really read the Times piece for insight into the formerly gritty and gay Meatpacking District, which these days is really good place to get run over by a strappy-sandled, stroller-pushing, Carrie Bradshaw wannabe.

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