July 8, 2010 | Short Order

Rock Center brass hire Las Vegas dining guru Elizabeth Blau to redo Rainbow Room 

        Chef wrangler Elizabeth Blau has been hired to give new life and a new look to dining in the Rainbow Room by the top brass at Rockefeller Center. Tishman-Speyer, co-owner and manager of the Rockefeller Center properties east of Sixth Avenue, has apparently decided to operate a dining venture itself after a year spent trying to find a suitable tenant for the landmark space.  

        Blau prepped with Sirio Maccioni before becoming a moving force behind the then evolving star chef image of dining in Las Vegas, first at MGM Mirage and then for Wynn Resort and Casino where she was involved in the design and development of 22 restaurant projects as well as at Wynn Macau.

        Chef-consultant Barry Wine, creator of the highly influential now extinct restaurant, The Quilted Giraffe, had been hired by Tishman-Speyer to find a tenant for the Rainbow Room as well as for other spaces at ground level.  Wine says he brought in Thomas Keller to do a branch of his Bouchon Bakery at 1 Rockefeller Plaza on 48th Street replacing a Dean & Deluca grocery and café, as announced yesterday by Florence Fabricant in Times Dining. “It’s a beautiful space for Keller,” Wine says. “It’s right on camera. Every day you’ll see the sign Bouchon on the Today Show.” He also recruited Steve Hanson to put a midtown branch of Bill’s Bar & Burger in the huge space that once was Pino Luongo’s Tuscan Square.

        Industry rumors say Wine left the company at the end of his contract with a proposal from a world class celebrity chef’s organization. Apparently that negotiation failed. Inheriting Rainbow Room’s Union obligations was a sticking point for many likely prospects. 

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