A Noble Bird

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News of that deal/no deal situation had been making the rounds like lightning, with both parties under non-disclosure agreements. But I was less interested in the details than in what the hell Bonanno was thinking. I mean, he already has Luca and Mizuna, which are brilliant. But his 1700 Vine Street operations -- Milagro Taco Bar, Harry's Chop House and that back-room jazz-bar thing -- were not brilliant. And he was looking for something else? That didn't make a lot of sense, so I gave him a call.

"Here's the thing," Bonanno explained. "I no longer have any interest at Harry's or Milagro." In fact, he hasn't for about three months. "My partner and I had different philosophies on running a restaurant," Bonanno added, which I thought was a very politic way to put it, because frankly, those two places made Bonanno look like an amateur, a flake and a rip-off artist -- three things that he's definitely not.

So with the Bonanno empire cut in half and the dead weight gone, it makes sense that Bonanno's in the market for a new space. He's already laid on a newly minted ops guy, Chris Gregory, to watch the front of the house, bar and office for him; Gregory is a hard-core veteran, having done five years at Mel's alongside Bonanno, then spending time at Barolo before opening Adega, opening Mirepoix and coming on as general manager at Mizuna.

"I'm a chef," Bonanno said. "I can watch the kitchens. And between Chris and Jackie [Bonanno's wife], they can discuss the fine points of service and wine. We can always get better. And that's always been my goal."

And although Table 6's location, so close to his other two restaurants, would have been handy, Bonanno's moving forward. "I'm still looking," he told me. "I'm definitely still looking."

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan