Keith McNally: ‘I was losing £5,000 a day with my six restaurants closed’ | The Guardian

The king of New York’s downtown restaurant scene has survived a stroke and coronavirus but is not optimistic about the health of his industryKeith McNally, 69, has created more than a dozen magnetic restaurants. In New York, where he moved in 1975, these include the Odeon (memorialised by Jay McInerney), Pastis and Minetta Tavern. Seven years ago, McNally launched Balthazar in Covent Garden, which recently reopened its doors after lockdown. Born in Bethnal Green, the son of a taxi driver and an office worker, McNally was one of the original cast of Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On. Three years ago, a stroke left him paralysed on his right side.How have you spent lockdown?Partly gasping for oxygen in Chelsea and Westminster hospital. I had a bout of coronavirus that almost killed me. I gasped for more air after realising I was losing £5,000 a day as a result of my six restaurants being closed. But the cherry on the cake was having to sell my Cotswolds house that I’d bought only three years earlier and renovated inch by inch every day. The only thing that keeps me sane during lockdown is writing my memoir. Continue reading…

The king of New York’s downtown restaurant scene has survived a stroke and coronavirus but is not optimistic about the health of his industry

Keith McNally, 69, has created more than a dozen magnetic restaurants. In New York, where he moved in 1975, these include the Odeon (memorialised by Jay McInerney), Pastis and Minetta Tavern. Seven years ago, McNally launched Balthazar in Covent Garden, which recently reopened its doors after lockdown. Born in Bethnal Green, the son of a taxi driver and an office worker, McNally was one of the original cast of Alan Bennett’s Forty Years On. Three years ago, a stroke left him paralysed on his right side.

How have you spent lockdown?
Partly gasping for oxygen in Chelsea and Westminster hospital. I had a bout of coronavirus that almost killed me. I gasped for more air after realising I was losing £5,000 a day as a result of my six restaurants being closed. But the cherry on the cake was having to sell my Cotswolds house that I’d bought only three years earlier and renovated inch by inch every day. The only thing that keeps me sane during lockdown is writing my memoir.

Continue reading…


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