There are plenty of places to eat in Dublin, but with restaurants closing down here and there, and more noticeably among some of the good/popular ones, one can’t help but wonder what is going on. Is the recession really hitting that much harder than we’ve expected, or are there troubles in managing expectations and balancing the books at the same time.
Early in the week, Carluccio’s shut its door at the wake of failure to meet its rent commitment after unsuccessful renegotiation of rent with its landlord. However, last evening, a new deal was struck and they will reopen again next week. What a week, eh?
I remember reading, when they first opened on Dawson Street, the extraordinary amount of rent that they’ve agreed to per annum. But of course, that was at the height of waves just before everything came crashing down. The old agreement saw Carluccio’s paying a rent of €680,000 per year, which works out to just under €1,900 per day. Yup, you read that right, per day! I don’t know if this kind of rate is the norm for properties on Dawson Street, but by goodness, that’s more than my monthly housing rent. And to think, given the economic downturn and the landlords were initially resisting a reduction in rent payable, that’s simply absurd. I can’t imagine they’ll be able to find a new tenant that would pay that amount should Carluccio’s vacate the premises. No one in their right mind should! Premium properties at city centre location, sure. Unrealistic rent overhead, nooooo.
On other eateries coming and going in the city (while I was cocooned with work craziness), the Bang Cafe on Merrion Row has shut down last month – this most probably explains the removal of Michelin’s Bib Gourmand recognition – with some major mismanagement hanging over the head of the owners, the Stokes brothers. And the bad news is, it’s not just mismanagement of the cafe but also of their private members’ club on St Stephen’s Green. It is such a shame, since they formerly also ran Clarendon Inn and between that and Bang Cafe, they have served some really delicious grubs over the years.
Latest news on the news today – Patrick Guilbaud is stepping down as director of his namesake restaurant that currently holds two Michelin stars. Now, this is one restaurant that still posted profits in 2008 (not sure about 2009 yet), but I do wonder what’s the implication now that he’s stepping down from his directorship.