The restaurant in the lobby of the Royalton Hotel, 44, closed in June. It will relaunch this fall with John McDonald, who co-owns Lever House, Chinatown Brasserie, and Lure, at the helm. “When I first moved to New York, 44 was in its heyday, a real fashion crowd,” recalls McDonald. Back then it was run by Brian McNally (Indochine, Odeon), and known as the Condé Nast cafeteria, where Tina Brown held court as the Queen of Buzz. Since then, the hotel had become a sort of time capsule of nineties cool. McDonald will be opening an American brasserie this time around but doesn’t have a name for it. He’s hired designers Roman and Williams, who are also at work on André Balazs’s New York Standard, over by the High Line. Let’s hope they find something to do with those fishbowls, leaning mirrors, and pea-green sofas from the old Philippe Starck interior.
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