McNally told Eater that the venture hasn’t worked out “through no one’s fault but my own.” He said the eatery at East Houston Street and the Bowery will close the first week of January and reopen in mid-March as a French restaurant called Cherche Midi. Shane McBride, executive chef at McNally's popular SoHo brasserie Balthazar, will serve as executive chef and Daniel Parella will serve as chef de cuisine, Eater reported.
McNally did not immediately return a request for comment.
Pulino’s opened to lots of hype in March 2010, but critics gave it mixed reviews. Its first head chef, “Iron Chef “ alumnus Nate Appleman, left the restaurant after less than a year on the job.
“There’s so much hype surrounding this restaurant, and I think it will fall short of the expectations,” Appleman told DNAinfo New York in March 2010. “It’s just food. It’s just a restaurant. The hype is ridiculous.”
Tony Liu of McNally's Wesy Village restaurant Morandi took over the position in November 2010, but as McNally told Eater, the restaurant never “fully worked.” Pulino’s was McNally’s 11th restaurant in Manhattan, following popular Downtown fixtures including Minetta Tavern.
“In 33 years I've never had to close a restaurant. So on the plus side I'll finally be first at something,” McNally said.
Earlier this month, McNally announced his popular Meatpacking District spot Pastis would close its doors for renovation early next year.
He told Eater he hopes to reopen the establishment in January 2015.