B & B Hospitality Group—the longtime partnership between restaurateur Joe Bastianich and celebrity chef Mario Batali, who has been separated from the business since sexual harassment allegations against him came to light in December 2017—announced it will be closing three restaurants located on the Las Vegas Strip. B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, located in the Venetian, and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, located in the Palazzo, will shut their doors July 27.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns both Italian-themed luxury resorts, which are home to a suite of other high-profile restaurants as well, including ones run by Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller. “The Sands Group decided that they no longer wanted to continue their collaboration with us,” Bastianich told Wine Spectator. “And it's a shame and a terrible thing. They had great wine programs. A lot of incredible professionals passed through those restaurants. It's a sad day.”
Both Carnevino and Otto Enoteca had earned awards from Wine Spectator in June 2017 for the strength of their wine programs.
Bastianich hopes the restaurants’ employees will find work at the soon-to-open Eataly in Las Vegas, in which he is a partner, or be able to take positions in some other part of the restaurant group. The Sands group has also indicated that the B&B employees can apply for jobs within that company. As for the fate of the restaurants’ wine, Bastianich only said, “It's a very complicated thing.”
As of now, Bastianich says no other restaurants in the group are faced with closure at the request of other companies.
Bastianich said Batali should be fully divested from the business by July 1. He was removed from operations in December 2017, with his face and mention of his name erased from most locations, and chefs Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianch took greater leadership roles in the company. The group's current partners have been negotiating for months to buy out Batali's stake in the restaurants.
The announcement of the Las Vegas closures follows a May 20 60 Minutes segment by Anderson Cooper that brought to light new information and allegations against Batali, including one of assault; a New York Daily News report on a second alleged assault, and the news that the New York Police Department is investigating some of the complaints.
Bastianich hopes to one day have restaurants again in Las Vegas. “Obviously we want to keep the brands alive, like Carnevino,” he told Wine Spectator. “We're actively looking for another location. But I mean I have a world of shit to settle on my own side before I can begin to regrow brands.”