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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Symon Says So Long to Manhattan

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2007 at 1:14 PM

If a stop at Michael Symon’s NYC outpost Parea was on your summer to-do list, cross it off. The Cleveland-based chef-restaurateur (Lola, Lolita) resigned from the trendy Greek restaurant in the Flatiron District about three weeks ago; the 14-month-old restaurant was shuttered July 10. Sources close to Symon, who served as Parea’s consulting executive chef, say his departure was prompted by disagreements with his partners over the restaurant’s direction. “It was a struggle for him,” says one insider. “He was in business with four investors who were very difficult for him to work with. He liked the guys, he followed through with his part in the kitchen, but in the end he just thought his time could be used better elsewhere.” Symon’s wife and business partner, Liz Symon, says she and the chef were stunned to learn the restaurant had closed. “I only found out when a publicist called me and asked me if I had seen the Eater site,” she said. And the chef, who has been in New York all month taping The Next Iron Chef for the Food Network, hadn’t had any contact with the investors since his resignation. “He really didn’t see that coming,” says Liz Symon. While she denied that Parea had serious financial difficulties, Liz Symon did allow that the operation might not have been hauling in enough dough to meet investors’ goals. “They weren’t restaurant people, and they might not really know what is reasonable to expect,” she said. Parea manager Paul Zappoli seemed to confirm all this, saying that since closing the restaurant, the investors have partnered up with another of the city’s popular Greek eateries, and plan to reopen in mid-September, taking the former Parea in “a new direction. It will still be Greek, but the name and the concept will change.” --- Elaine T. Cicora

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