When we first heard that the super-trendy Torrisi would be taking over 90-year-old Rocco's on Thompson St., I contacted the Torrisi team and asked them some questions about their plans and their decision to move into the ousted third-generation business' space when many already empty spaces were available nearby.
They didn't respond. But they seem to be answering my questions--and some of your comments--in yesterday's interview with the Observer.
Per the Observer:
The sniping came via comments appended to various blog posts concerning the newest addition to the Torrisi family: In November, the partners signed a lease for a Thompson Street space that, until now, housed the old-school red-sauce Italian joint Rocco Ristorante. The original owner’s rent was more than doubled by the space’s landlord. Rocco’s owner threatened to take the landlord to court, and the classic neon red ROCCO sign with him.
The new restaurant, which won’t open for “a while” (per Mr. Zalaznick) will cap an extraordinary growth period for the Torrisi empire, which seems to have struck a nerve by bringing a modern sensibility to Italian-American staples.
Still, the idea of the buzziest new restaurant group in town replacing a 90-year-old standby has generated a certain amount of controversy.
“This space was going to be available whether we took it or not,” Mr. Carbone noted. “And hopefully we’re going to be able to get in there and honor its history.”
“People want to talk about New York vanishing,” Mr. Torrisi piped in. “I think we’re rebuilding it.”
They don’t yet know exactly what they’re going to do with the space—no plans as of yet for the concept, the menu, the design, or even the name.
One thing about the Torrrisi boys’ growth into the old Rocco space is certain, however: They are definitely keeping the sign.
End of excerpt
Rocco shuttered: Stacy's Home Journal
So I guess accepting the landlord's inflated offer is not contributing to the demise of the existing business? All of this makes me tired.
Rocco's shuttered earlier this month and, at this point, all I want to know is: what's up with the sign? Is it going with Rocco's or staying with Torrisi? And will we see a Fedora-style xeroxing of it eventually?