Three of Mario Batali’s Las Vegas restaurants are set to close, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. B&B Hospitality informed employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante, and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria that the restaurants will permanently shutter on July 27. All three high-profile restaurants are located on the Las Vegas Strip, in the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, and had been open for more than a decade: Carnevino celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year with a splashy dinner series.
The unexpected announcement comes just days after 60 Minutes presented new allegations that Batali drugged and sexually assaulted a woman at New York City restaurant the Spotted Pig, and that Batali is under criminal investigation by the NYPD. In December 2017, following the first public allegations of sexual misconduct, Batali “stepped down” from operations at Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group; a few weeks later, the group announced plans to change its name to simply B&B Hospitality. B&B has recently said the chef/co-owner would divest from the group entirely by July 1.
The Las Vegas announcement marks the first time a Batali restaurant will close seemingly as a result of the misconduct allegations. The closures will affect approximately 298 employees, according to B&B Hospitality partner Joe Bastianich, who informed employees in a letter.
“These restaurants have continued to succeed, and they are a tribute to every one of you who works in them and brings great dining experiences to our guests,” Bastianich said in the letter. “Unfortunately, our partner in these restaurants, Las Vegas Sands Corp., has decided to end our relationship.” A spokesperson for B&B told the Review-Journal that Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo, made the decision to close the restaurants before the 60 Minutes segment aired.
B&B Hospitality plans to help employees transition to new jobs. The Review-Journal also reports that the group isn’t done operating in Las Vegas. “I am beginning to explore options, but it will take some time to execute them. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do that in the next 60 days,” Bastianich said in the letter.
Las Vegas Sands issued its own statement and said that it offered restaurant employees the opportunity to apply for jobs at the company. The statement reads: “We would like to thank the team members of B&B Restaurant Group for their dedication and many contributions to the Venetian and the Palazzo. We appreciate the hard work and energy of director of operations Zach Allen, chef/culinary director Nicole Brisson and the rest of this team. At this time, there are no other plans for the space.”
In early January of this year, the Review-Journal noted that Batali’s image had been “scrubbed” from restaurant signage at the three Vegas restaurants. B&B Burger and Beer, another Vegas concept at the Venetian, closed in July 2017; at the time, B&B said the shutter was in anticipation of Eataly’s planned Vegas opening. As of January, the Eataly project is still moving forward, with reps telling Eater Vegas at the time that “Sexual harassment of any kind towards anyone in any form is unacceptable and Eataly cares deeply about creating a safe and comfortable environment for all our employees and customers, free of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.”
• 3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close [Review-Journal]