Say goodbye to Barneys New York on Madison Avenue, but not to Freds, the chic restaurant housed on the ninth floor of the store.
Freds will continue to operate after the store itself closes, through a partnership between Authentic Brands Group, which bought Barneys out of bankruptcy last year, and Infuse Hospitality, a food and beverage management company.
Meanwhile, the Barneys flagship, located at 660 Madison Avenue since 1993, will close for good on Sunday.
Corey Salter, chief operating officer of ABG, said Tuesday the plan is to “continue to honor Freds’ traditions in service, luxury and great food and drink while simultaneously building a new community with intention…Additionally, Freds will be available to book as an event space for parties, holiday gatherings and other functions.”
Added Michael Schultz, chief executive officer of Infuse Hospitality: “We are excited to be able to continue to provide guests with the service and hospitality that’s long been associated with Freds, and working alongside executive chef Alfredo Escobar and general manager Loraine Ng, who are very much a part of its history and magic.”
While it’s good news that Freds will live on, it will be challenging to sustain the buzzy aura of the dining destination considering the store itself is liquidating and closing Sunday, and the chopped chicken salad won’t be the same. Last year, Freds’ longtime celebrity chef Mark Strausman, who was largely responsible for establishing the restaurant’s reputation, left unceremoniously after disagreements with the former owner of Barneys, Richard Perry.
Infuse will operate the Madison Avenue Freds only. Barneys in the Chelsea section of Manhattan and Freds inside that store have already closed. But ABG plans to open new Freds locations, according to an ABG spokeswoman.
According to ABG, once Barneys on Madison completes its liquidation, the selling space will be reduced and transformed with pop-ups and other formats that have yet to be specified and will be temporary, until the landlord re-tenants the space that had been occupied by the 230,000-square-foot Barneys flagship.
ABG is a brand development, marketing and entertainment company that owns a portfolio of global media, entertainment and lifestyle brands including Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Sports Illustrated, Thalia, Nautica, Aéropostale, Juicy Couture, Vince Camuto, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Nine West and Frye, among others.