Saturday 20 January 2018

Celebrity haunt re-opens as its sister restaurant shuts doors

Unicorn Restaurant
Unicorn Restaurant

Kevin Keane

ONE of the country's most famous restaurants has re-opened, just as its sister premises has been acrimoniously shut down by its owners.

The fashionable Unicorn restaurant is back in business under the management – and with many of the staff – of Il Segreto, its neighbouring restaurant on Dublin's Merrion Row.

In the latest twist to a complex saga involving the eateries, restaurateur Christian Stokes has confirmed to the Irish Independent that following a period of "conflict", his family was now running the Unicorn. But Mr Stokes declined to elaborate on the circumstances that led to the sudden closure of Il Segreto.

A message posted on Il Segreto's website stated tersely that it had been forced to close unexpectedly "due to the actions of one individual".

Last month, the Unicorn shut its doors on the same day that it was visited by gardai investigating a possible breach of the licensing act.

Georgio Casari ran the Unicorn with his wife Noreen and son Rudy for 18 years, in which it became internationally known and was frequented by the fashionable and powerful of Irish society.

Mr Casari and Mr Stokes's father, Jeff Stokes, are understood to have been in dispute over the lease for the restaurant. They were partners in a number of well-known restaurant businesses on Merrion Row, including The Unicorn and Il Segreto, through their group Vino Classico.

The Casari family had informed customers on the Unicorn's website that "circumstances" meant they had to leave the restaurant.

"It's been very busy, so it's great," Mr Stokes said of the Unicorn since it re-opened last week, but he added that the food trade was still very difficult.

Irish Independent

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