In the latest installment of Todd English news, it appears that his Charlestown restaurant, Olives, is closed again, perhaps permanently this time. (See update at the bottom of this story for information about an upcoming reopening in the "greater Boston area.") Twitter user @aflatley reported today that it is "closed until further notice. Windows papered up, inquiries referred to building owner." Patrick Maguire, author of the Server Not Servant blog and longtime member of the local restaurant industry, confirmed on Facebook that English and the landlord "couldn't come to an agreement on renegotiating lease," according to a "solid as a rock" industry source.
Last year, the restaurant finally reopened two years after damage from a grease fire shuttered it, and English was promptly sued by the landlords for $723,000 in back rent, apparently not the first such lawsuit for the chef. Adding insult to injury, Devra First penned a somewhat scathing review of the reopened restaurant for the Globe — and a vandal repeatedly threw a brick at the restaurant. Last month, an Eater tipster reported that the building housing Olives was slated to become a hotel, but that wouldn't necessarily spell the end for the restaurant.
English also owns an Olives in New York, along with a large handful of other restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Connecticut, Florida, Alabama, and aboard two cruise ships. Here in Boston, he still has two locations of Figs, Bonfire (at the airport), and his daughter's cupcake emporium, Isabelle's CurlyCakes. He can also be found ruining the life of a chef who was supposed to win a job at one of his restaurants, naming oysters after himself, and putting Pigalle chef Marc Orfaly in a headlock in Chinatown.
UPDATE: A full statement from English's team:
Todd English announced today the relocation of his signature Charlestown restaurant, Olives. The landmark establishment that opened its doors in 1989 on Main Street, and moved to City Square three years later, is once again moving to a new location in the greater Boston area.· Olives in Charlestown may have closed its doors [BRT]
"Charlestown is and will always have a special place in my heart. It is with sadness that I will be leaving this neighborhood. We have been here since 1989 and so many wonderful memories are tied to this place," says Todd English. "But with the incredible way America's culinary landscape has been evolving, I have decided that Olives - my first and signature restaurant - must also evolve."
Olives will reopen at a new and shiny location. "I am very excited about this rebirth of Olives. Together with my eldest son, Oliver who I am proud to say has just come onboard, and the whole English culinary family, we have been working for some time on the reinvention of our signature restaurant," explains English. "What will Olives version 3.0 look like? Well, lets just say it will be a surprise. It will be a true representation of the evolution of America's hunger for freshness and diversity, but also stay true to Olives Mediterranean roots. Stay tuned!"
The relocation of Olives is also part of a larger project to open additional restaurants in the Boston area. Plans are already underway to open a TE Food Hall and TE P.U.B., two of English's most successful recent ventures, in New York, Las Vegas and Birmingham. During the relocation, guests in Boston can still enjoy Todd English's two Figs locations as well as Isabelle's CurlyCakes for their cupcake fix. For Olives fans who cannot wait, the New York, Las Vegas and newly opened Mexico City locations are just a short train or airplane ride away. In addition, Olives Paradise Island is slated to open this summer in the Bahamas and Olives Abu Dhabi in 2014.
· Has Olives Charlestown closed? [Boston.com]
· All coverage of Todd English on Eater [~EBOS~]
· All coverage of Olives on Eater [~EBOS~]