Yesterday Eater broke news that Florent’s landlord has been showing the building to potential tenants (Eater originally misidentified the landlord, so take that rumor for what it’s worth). Florent’s future has been tenuous for some time now — a June 2007 Daily News item mentions owner Florent Morellet trying to renegotiate his lease while neighbors closed shop. We’re hearing from one source that Florent’s lease is up in May, after which Florent will close. Another source says that Morellet planned to sell the business because his health is worsening (his T-cell count is displayed on one of the menu boards). So was it the Florent space that Anthony Martignetti was referring to when he told us he was considering opening a restaurant near Pastis? Who knows, it may also have been the old Rhone space, abandoned by Double Seven. Morellet wasn’t available for comment today, but we’ll keep you posted on what may be a double blow (remember, Passerby will soon close) to the meatpacking district.
Update: Asked whether Anthony Martignetti is considering the Florent space, a rep tells us she has no new information at this time. Note: She didn't say, “No.”
Related:SHOCK CLAIM: Florent Restaurant to Close This Year? [Eater]
Paris Shaped by the Pen [NYDN]
Earlier: Anthony Martignetti Plots a New Restaurant Over Croissants at PastisPasserby Hasn’t Quite Passed On
UrbanDaddy has a first look at singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw’s new blues bar National Underground in the old Martignetti’s Liquors space (remember when Anthony Martignetti was just a lowly dive-bar owner?), which we’ve discovered will eventually include a downstairs where live acts will rock out after acoustic acts end at 10 p.m. upstairs. Co-owner Duggins King (longtime co-owner of Terra Blues) tells us he’s also planning to add about a dozen beers on draft and a food menu that he says will challenge Burger Joint for the best cheeseburger in town. Color us skeptical, but King assures us, “I come from Texas and my partner comes from upstate New York. We’re a couple of country boys who like cheeseburgers. If it tastes right, we’ll serve it. If not, we won’t.” We’ll have to wait till February to see about that, but in the meantime, the bar part of the operation opens on Thursday.
National Underground, 159 E. Houston St., at Allen St.; 212-475-0611.The National [UrbanDaddy]
Anthony Martignetti may have gone to boarding school and then to Trinity, and his year-old restaurant Bar Martignetti may enjoy a reputation as a clubhouse for the dashingly well to-do — however he insists that “anyone who sees me doesn’t think of me as extremely preppy at all. They usually tell me to dress up a bit.” Maybe he’s being modest: While it’s true he often sports a sweatshirt and dirty white jeans, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his way around Blue Point oysters and Italian digestifs. We asked him what he’s been eating during a week that culminated in a private party for John and Patrick McEnroe.