27-year-old Plateau supper club Buonanotte has closed its rather large doors on St-Laurent — but its owners say it won’t be gone forever.
Massimo Lecas, one of the owners of the restaurant, tells Eater that the restaurant decided to close the restaurant temporarily after negotiations with their landlord stalled.
“We had to resort to closing in order...for them to take us seriously,” he said. According to the restaurant owner, negotiations have been taking place over the past three weeks.
“It’s been gut-wrenching to be waiting and waiting and negotiating and fighting...but the landlord also realizes they do not want to shut us down,” said Lecas. Landlord Allied Properties REIT could not immediately be reached for comment.
Lecas believes the restaurant is close to resolving the dispute. After a new deal is struck, he says the restaurant will reopen in a matter of days.
The Huffington Post first reported that the Italian restaurant-cum-nightclub was “at risk” of closing due to a conflict between the business owners and the landlord over rent.
HuffPo also reported that the restaurant’s suppliers received a bailiff’s letter stating that the restaurant was unable to furnish its debts, including some $70,000 owed to employees, and noted that reservations for last weekend (March 17 and 18) were not available due to the restaurant being closed.
Narcity (of all sources) brought more details about the closure, with screencaps of messages between Buonanotte’s employees. The messages suggest that staff were unsure if they still had jobs, and if they would be able to collect pay or T4s from the supper club.
The restaurant’s Facebook page has been deactivated for now, and other social media accounts have not been active for several weeks.
The broader Buonanotte restaurant group doesn’t appear to be in financial trouble, and is still busy with other businesses — it recently opened a Plateau cocktail bar, Hydan, and has plans to open a 200-seat Mile End location for its well-received casual venture, Fiorellino, this spring.
While opinions vary on Buonanotte — some see it as a hub for solid Italian food, others may have been put off by the lurid purple interior and club crowds — it is certainly an icon of sorts, given its prominence, both in terms of location on St-Laurent, and its status on the relatively small supper club circuit. In its most recent review, Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman wrote that she may not have been jazzed on the “model-pretty waitresses [and] party-hearty ambience”, but still had a respectable number of nods to give to dishes like classic meatballs and a pork porterhouse.
Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information from the restaurant’s owners.