One of my most reliable sources, Strep Throat, has passed on word that Stephan Fortier, the man behind Maison d'Azur, is planning to move an upscale French/Med restaurant into the 23rd Street space formerly occupied by Eden South Beach. The Fortier Group, which last operated Maison, is now listed as an inactive corporation; its address is 1111 Lincoln Road in South Beach, but there is no office there.
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But if a Maison spinoff is indeed going to open in the Eden space, the news is a little baffling.
Maison didn't make it at 660 Angler, and then didn't make it at Hotel Astor. Brasserie d'Azur was supposed to be one of the original tenants of Midtown, but pulled out. So now it will attempt to make a go of it on quirky 23rd Street. Granted, Andrea and Frank Randazzo succeeded in the space with Talula for quite a few years, but nearby hotel restaurants such as The Dutch, The Restaurant at The Setai, Mr. Chow, and others tend to grab most destination diners. Plus, Villa Azur Restaurant & Lounge, another upscale French/Mediterranean establishment, is close by on 23rd Street, and Bistro Bagatelle, a French import from New York City (from The One Group, the folks behind STK), will be moving into the Boulan development across the street from the Setai. La Gloutonnerie and Estiatorio Milos have recently opened as well -- just how many wealthy French and Mediterraneans are there on South Beach?
We'll keep track of this one. Start saving up now so you can afford all the whelks and periwinkles coming down the pike.