Park Avenue Café has lost its lease at the landmarked building at 100 East 63rd Street and will close January l, 2014, according to Fourth Wall Restaurants’ father and son duo, Alan and Michael Stillman. Stillman senior actually broke into tears as he described the shock and loss.
The Post House, an upscale steak house in the jewel-like Lowell Hotel on East 61st Street, managed for decades by Stillman, is closing too. The Post House, “possibly New York City’s most civilized steakhouse,” stopped serving lunch a few weeks ago and will close totally in August. “It could be two months or five months, or, we don’t know it could be forever,” Alan Stillman said. “I told them it needed to be updated to match the hotel’s new look,” Stillman told me. “They aren’t sure what they want to do. They might like to extend the lobby.”
As sanguine as Stillman is about the The Post House, he appears devastated by the closing of Park Avenue Café. He lost the lease once before in 2007 but managed to negotiate a new agreement with the co-op board, after giving his employees a closing notice. That deal was supposed to run through 2016. He says he’s not sure why it’s over now, but he and his son are actively looking for a new spot in midtown to move The Park Avenue Café.
Stillman was a perfume salesman, when he bought a short lease on a dirty old corner bar on First Avenue with a bullet hole in the window, and turned it into the first Thank God It’s Friday -- in hopes of meeting girls. When someone came in asking to buy a franchise, he didn’t know what a franchise was. That was the beginning of his empire. He recently sold all his Smith and Wollenskys except the New York original on Third Avenue to Patina Restaurant Group.