GREENWICH VILLAGE — Caffe Dante owner Mario Flotta denied staff claims and reports that the century-old family business had been sold, dismissing the information as a "false alarm."
Staff at Caffe Dante on MacDougal Street said this week that the restaurant was set to close as soon as the end of February, after widespread reports about the sale of the eatery.
"I don't know what they're talking about," Flotta countered on Wednesday. "We're going to be here for a while yet."
The blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York first reported on Monday that the restaurant had been sold to new owners who planned to keep the restaurant's name.
Flotta called the reports of a sale "a false alarm," and said he has made no arrangements to sell the business "at this time."
"Nothing has been done as yet," he said, repeatedly insisting there is no sale in the works.
Flotta added that his staff was wrong to tell reporters and customers that the restaurant would close and attributed the rumor's spread within his establishment to a waitress with "a big mouth."
"She misunderstood," Flotta said. "I don't know where she heard it from."
"Whoever started this rumor is a lunatic," Flotta added.
A staff member working at the restaurant on Wednesday said she was too busy to talk to a reporter.
Flotta repeatedly promised that the restaurant "won't be closed," but he did not completely disavow the possibility of selling the business.
"Anything is for sale if the price is right," Flotta said.