COVID curse strikes Michelin-starred NYC restaurant Marea



The COVID-19 curse has struck Marea, the celebrated, Michelin-starred restaurant on Central Park South.

The showplace eatery owned by former Merrill Lynch honcho Ahmass Fakahany — famed for its plush dining room and signature dish, fusilli with braised octopus and bone marrow — quietly closed after dinner last Saturday over what a source termed “a big kitchen outbreak.”

“We wouldn’t call it a severe [outbreak] but it was enough for us to do the right thing out of an abundance of caution,” said Susan Lee, executive director of Marea’s owner, the Altamarea Group. She wouldn’t say how many employees were infected.

Although a window sign says the restaurant would reopen on Thursday, Lee said that staff testing results since the shutdown have been so favorable that it will reopen on Wednesday [Dec 15]. There was also what Lee called a “massive disinfection.”

Marea appears to be the first major Big Apple eatery to close temporarily over a COVID outbreak.

Lee said, “Our rule has been for everyone to be double vaccinated even before it became the actual requirement.”

Marea outdoor dining.
The executive director of the Altamarea Group wouldn’t say how many employees were infected.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images
Marea appears to be the first major NYC eatery to close temporarily over a COVID-19 outbreak.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

She said managers called everyone who made a reservation during the three-day shutdown — presumably a lot of calls for a place with 160 indoor seats that serves both lunch and dinner.

Marea draws a cavalcade of celebrity diners including Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Beyonce and Jay-Z, “Real Housewife” Terisa Giudice and art gallerist/producer Edward Tyler Nahem.

The place was in the news last year when some locals protested over sidewalk seating which they said blocked pedestrians and their dogs. They also griped over expansion into an outdoor courtyard “with total disregard for quality of life” in neighboring apartment buildings.


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