Francois Payard Pastry Shop Backs Out of Upper East Side Lease

By Amy Zimmer on November 15, 2011 7:27am 

Payard's pastries can still be found on the Upper East Side at Butterfield Market. At left, a Vanilla cake for $6.95 and Chocolate Chiboust with soft caramel, dark chocolate and candied nuts for $6.95.
Payard's pastries can still be found on the Upper East Side at Butterfield Market. At left, a Vanilla cake for $6.95 and Chocolate Chiboust with soft caramel, dark chocolate and candied nuts for $6.95.
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DNAinfo/Gabriela Resto-Montero

UPPER EAST SIDE — Fans of French pastry chef Francois Payard will have to wait for his return to the neighborhood.

Payard's patisserie, which tantalized Upper East Siders with the promised return of its renowned tarts and truffles with a wine and champagne bar, has backed out of its lease, signed in January, for an anticipated spring opening at 1330 Third Ave. at 76th Street, a restaurant spokeswoman told DNAinfo.

Payard will continue to look for another location in the neighborhood, the spokeswoman said.

"He is looking for another space on the Upper East Side" that is more appropriate to "the look and feel" of the elegant eatery, she said.

She declined to offer specific information on why the deal fell through.

According to the Department of Buildings website, the building has had a partial stop work order since 2009 because of a problem with unsafe scaffolding.

The scaffold is no longer on the building, but DOB officials said the owner would need to contact the department to get the order lifted, and he has not yet done done so.

The building's owner, Joseph Bari, owes nearly $89,000 in outstanding fines and has several open violations, including "failure to maintain exterior walls" with peeling paint "creating a hazard for [the] public," according to the DOB website.

Calls to Bari's company were not returned.

But that hasn't stopped a new tenant from moving into the space: a women's designer clothing boutique called Wink, with outposts in SoHo and the Upper West Side, according to co-owner Stephen Werther, who runs the business with his wife.

Werther said the building's owner had already redesigned the façade with new large windows for Payard, and added, "Their loss is our gain."

Werther anticipates Wink will open "a couple of weeks before Christmas," but he didn't have an exact date. The Upper East Side location will replace a small store the couple owns on Lexington Avenue.

Werther said the building's violation problems have delayed construction, but said "The owner is clearing that up."

Upper East Siders have been missing the pastry chef since Payard Patisserie and Bistro shuttered in 2009 after more than a decade on 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue due to a rent dispute.

The dessert master recently opened a bakery in the Goldman Sachs building downtown, after a delay due to difficulty getting a phone line installed by the financial giant. He also has a bakery in the West Village at 116 West Houston Street, and FC Chocolate Bar in the Plaza Hotel.

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