Wednesday, April 24, 2024

COVID Claims NYC’s Beloved Augustine Restaurant, Owned by Keith McNally, Who’s Also Had to Sell a Home to Keep Going


Sad news in the New York restaurant world. COVID-19 and the quarantine have claimed the beloved Augustine restaurant, owned by famed veteran Keith McNally. A few weeks ago McNally closed Lucky Strike, in Soho, one of the gems of downtown New York.

McNally writes on Instagram: “Due to the impact of Covid, I’m sorry to report that Augustine will have to close permanently. I have tried very hard to find a solution with our landlord, but he was simply not flexible enough to make this happen.
Thank you to all of Augustine’s lovely staff and customers. I’ll cherish our wonderful memories together and look forward to seeing you at Balthazar, Pastis, Minetta Tavern, and Morandi. Or Debtor’s Prison – whichever comes first. xxx”

At least Keith, whom I’ve known for about 40 years, has a good sense of humor. Earlier this spring he reported on Instagram that he had to sell a home to keep going. So far, of all his great eateries, only the new version of Pastis has opened for outdoor dining. Minetta Tavern in the heart of the Village is doing takeout and delivery. The others are still shuttered, which hurts because they are all my favorite places. And always hard to get into!

Augustine was located downtown near City Hall, a location that’s been beset by protesters lately. It had the ornate look of Balthazar once removed. But there was no way to do outdoor dining, especially with so many businesses closed. It’s too bad about Augustine because it was a triumph after the closing of Pulino, which never caught on. (I really liked it, but hey.) Keith McNally is a survivor. Once our lives are restored to normal, he’ll branch out again. Don’t forget, he started two key New York dining classics that he no longer owns (long stories) but were thriving up til March 13th: Odeon, and Cafe Luxembourg.

They will all be back.



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Sadly, my London house went to contract today.

A post shared by Keith McNally (@keithmcnallynyc) on

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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