Despite the gravitas associated with a Michelin star, the honor isn’t always a sign of longevity.
Case in point: New York City’s Michelin two-starred Al Coro is set to close by the end of the year, after the restaurant was sold to Tao Group Hospitality, Eater NY reported on Wednesday. The Italian restaurant from Jeff Katz and chef Melissa Rodriguez was bought alongside the more casual Mel’s and the nightclub Discolo, which all occupy the same building in Chelsea.
“We are thrilled to announce this partnership,” Tao Group COO Paul Goldstein said, according to Eater. “After knowing Jeff and Melissa for many years, we look forward to them bringing their hands-on culinary expertise to an impressive group of hospitality veterans. We’re excited to have them join the team and anticipate a powerful collaboration.”
Al Coro, which only opened last year, was quickly showered with accolades like Michelin stars and James Beard Award nominations. But reviews by those in the culinary industry were mixed: The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo, for example, called the restaurant a “pretentious nightmare.” Now the Al Coro space—which was previously Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Del Posto—will become something else, a Tao spokesperson confirmed to Eater. Mel’s, meanwhile, will remain open, but Discolo’s future is not yet clear.
Tao Group is one of the largest hospitality conglomerates in the world, with 70 locations around the globe. The company’s namesake Tao opened in Midtown in 2000, and the group now has 30 spots in New York City alone. Earlier this year, James Dolan, the billionaire CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, expressed interest in selling the hospitality group, and it was acquired in April by Mohari for a whopping $550 million.
“Tao Group Hospitality has unique expertise, resources and global relationships that Mel and I think complement our skill sets really well,” Katz said in a statement. “I’ve known the team personally for many years now, and am excited to see what we can create together.”
Despite aiming for a party vibe, Al Coro never quite reached the level of a “clubstaurant”—which Tao Group has become known for—so perhaps this pairing will result in a new NYC hot spot.