Nello no more?
A source tells us that celebrity haunt Nello — where plates of pasta go for over $100 — is on its way out of its Madison Avenue home and will be replaced by another swank eatery, Cipriani.
We hear that Nello owes nearly $2 million in rent and is close to eviction, which a spokesperson denies.
“We have been making payments,” the restaurant’s spokesman Todd Shapiro tells Page Six. “An arrangement was put in place that does not reflect that number. The landlord and owner sat down several months ago to work things out. Right now we have not gotten a letter of eviction.”
But Shapiro also tells us the pricey Italian eatery owned by Thomas Makkos, might be relocating to less expensive digs nearby, as the restaurant industry attempts to get back on its feet amid the pandemic.
“There have been been ongoing discussions between Thomas and the landlord,” Shaprio says. “But we’ve been offered dozens of places to relocate the Nello brand. Nello may not be at that location. It might be a few feet away, or across the street — but it’s definitely not going out of business. It’s a staple of NYC, it’s not going anywhere.”
He also told us that, “People are looking to get the best deals they can get because business has gone down a lot due to the pandemic. The city has changed. The prices and amount of rent you paid years ago isn’t the same today. Almost all rents on Madison Avenue have gone down. A lot of tourists have not come back to the city, and many people haven’t gone back to work — they aren’t having business lunches.”
Meanwhile, another upscale eatery, Cipriani, already has five NYC locations, plus eateries from Las Vegas to Moscow. The brand also has a chain of hotels and residences.
A rep for Cipriani did not respond to a request for comment on the possibility of expanding into the current Nello space at 696 Madison Ave.
Nello has been a favorite of power players and celebs over its 27 years on Madison Avenue, including Jennifer Lopez, Mickey Rourke, Jennifer Aniston, Harrison Ford, Jay Z, Kanye West and Donald Trump Jr.
Shapiro told us, “COVID was one of the toughest times for restaurants and many didn’t survive… Nello did survive. It’s a testament to the great food and loyal customers.” But, he hinted of a move, “You might see little red bears [which sit outside the spot] walking across the street, but they aren’t leaving Madison Avenue.”