For months we have watched a pre-drawn conclusion play itself out as the landlord who kicked Meatpacking District legend Florent out tried to find success with her own sad replica of the diner, R&L Restaurant—and failed and failed and failed. As we all knew she would. Idiot. A thousand times over, idiot. (R&L was, of course, the name of the original diner that was there, but it's second incarnation was a hollow effort.)
The landlord eventually gave up, and R&L/Florent has been closed for a while. Now there's news from Grub Street of a new tenant:
When a reputable downtown restaurateur put in a competitive bid on the space a few weeks back, his offer wasn't even entertained. He was told the space had been leased; Grub Street has confirmed that a signed lease is now in place with another player, according to a source very close to Joanne Lucas, who owns the property. As for who this new tenant is, the facts are less clear.
We asked one nightlife expert about the space and he said, "At the numbers she was asking, I'm hard pressed to believe that anyone with any market knowledge would have signed. She was asking $30k/month, so assume it's $20k. The taxes are very high there and you'd be required to basically rebuild the space. It's in very poor condition and hasn't been touched in twenty years." Nevertheless, two more sources named David Graziano and David Cabo, of the Pink Elephant and Bagatelle cabal, as the new lease holders.
OK, so Lucas' restaurant failed. Why seek out new tenants, who would destroy the interior and, with it, what's left of the Florent legacy inside? Why not do the obvious thing and invite Florent to move back in and start up the old business like nothing had happened? I'm certain his patrons would return. What do you say Joanne? Can you admit you were wrong and make amends? Prove that what we naturally assume about landlords is wrong.