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Swiss Restaurant Mogul Looks to Become Uppity Burger Baron

Among the high rollers we met at last night’s autism benefit was a good-natured Swiss restaurateur with the formidable name of Dr. Wolf Wagschal. Wagschal was being shown around by our old pal Drew Nieporent, and we found ourselves chatting up the good doctor about his plans. It appears that Wagschal has it in mind to create a gourmet, high-end, white-tablecloth restaurant devoted entirely to hamburgers. “It won’t be like you have here, with your bacon cheeseburgers and so on,” he tells us. “We will have a cordon bleu burger, a vitello tonnato burger, a mushroom-and-Brie burger, and so on. And it won’t be like the DB burger either; it will be totally dedicated.” Wagschal wants the restaurant, which he plans to open first in Switzerland and then in New York, to have the atmosphere of Tribeca Grill. And who can blame him? But unless he serves one of our bacon cheeseburgers, we won’t be going there. Vitello tonnato!

Drew Nieporent Hardly Ever Eats Like a Restaurant Mogul

Drew Nieporent
Let’s say you were the city’s most famous restaurateur, the man who more or less invented Tribeca, and still owned three or four of the city’s most popular restaurants in Tribeca Grill and the three Nobu restaurants, not to mention Mai House and Centrico. Let’s say you were also seriously overweight. What would having complete command of four restaurants within one block of your office — not to mention the red carpet at every other restaurant in town and an essentially bottomless food budget — do to you? Drew Nieporent used his resources to go on the ultimate New York diet and lost 70 pounds in the process.

Michael Bao Huynh's Vietnamese to be Taken to the Next Level

Good news for Bao 111 fans: Chef Michael Bao Huynh is opening Mai House, a much bigger, more ambitious restaurant, backed by the Myriad Restaurants Group (Nobu, Tribeca Grill, et al). He'll be cooking straight-up Vietnamese food, but whatever it lacks in fusion flash, we're betting will be made up for by the guy's way with flavor. And the 4,500-square-foot, 120-seat space sounds like it'll be lovely, with "hand-carved wood fixtures from Vietnam, crushed sunflower-seed walls, Zebrawood banquettes, a mother-of-pearl and bamboo butcher-block bar and Vietnamese lotus flower light fixtures," according to the Myriad Group. It should open at the end of the month. 186 Franklin St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-431-0606.