Mario Batali’s three restaurants in Las Vegas will close July 27, a decision that comes as the New York Police Department conducts an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct levied against the celebrity chef.
The news was announced to employees Friday morning by B&B Hospitality Group, which provides back-office and operational services for 24 restaurants owned at least in part by Batali. The closures of B&B Ristorante, Otto and CarneVino will affect about 298 employees, most of whom will be laid off, according to a B&B representative.
“These restaurants have continued to succeed,” restaurateur Joe Bastianich said in a letter to employees. “Unfortunately our partner in these restaurants, Las Vegas Sands Corp., has decided to end our relationship.”
B&B Ristorante and Otto are both located in the Venetian, while CarneVino is in the Palazzo. The two hotels are owned by Las Vegas Sands.
Las Vegas Sands confirmed the closing date for the three restaurants and said in a statement that there are no other plans for the space at this time.
A B&B representative said Las Vegas Sands’ decision to close the restaurants has been in the works since December, when Eater published an investigative report in which four women accused Batali of inappropriate touching over a period of two decades. Batali did not deny those allegations, saying at the time that the behavior described in the article “does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.”
Las Vegas Sands is not the only company to cut ties with Batali.
Earlier this week, B&B Hospitality Group said its partnership with Batali was ending and that it was “actively negotiating” with Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants, after news of the NYPD investigation broke and “60 Minutes” aired a report in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005.
In a statement to CBS, Batali denied that he assaulted the woman.
Eataly said Monday that it had begun a process to “compel the divestiture” of Batali’s “small, minority interest” in Eataly USA, which has Italian-style marketplaces in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston.
ABC has terminated its relationship with Batali and said the chef would no longer appear on its daytime network show “The Chew.” This week, ABC said “The Chew” would be replaced by a third hour of “Good Morning America.”
Batali had amassed a vast culinary empire — his brand spanned dozens of restaurants in six U.S. states and Singapore, and his name was attached to several culinary products. He also authored more than a dozen cookbooks.
Batali has had a strong presence in Southern California, including his Mozza restaurants in Los Angeles and Newport Beach and the Eataly marketplace that opened in November at the Westfield Century City mall.