One of New York’s most storied power-lunching spots could be on its way out.
Tucked inside the Bloomberg Tower at 58th Street and Lexington Avenue, Le Cirque is one of New York City’s most famous restaurants. The restaurant, established in 1974 by Sirio Maccioni, has been a staple of the New York dining scene since its inception.
But Friday, the restaurant reportedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While the future of the restaurant (and its 9 affiliated locations) remains uncertain, the filing is another nail in the coffin of New York’s power-dining scene, which said goodbye to the iconic Four Seasons last year.
Not only is Le Cirque known for inventing the crème brûlée and spaghetti primavera, but it’s been the launching pad for multiple famous chefs, including Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, and Terrance Brennan. A mixture of style, wonderful food, and famous clientele have given Le Cirque its place in New York City’s fine-dining history.
Mario Wainer, who’s been the maître d’ and manager of Le Cirque for 26 years, has helped seat a list of famous guests that includes Beyonce and Jay Z, members of The Rolling Stones, former US presidents, and even the pope. His work is like a song and dance between the waitstaff and the guests — he greets regular diners like he would an old friend, and sees that everything is running smoothly.
Last March, we followed Wainer on a typical Tuesday during Le Cirque’s lunch hours, and learned how the power lunch has changed in his time there.
The restaurant sits inside the Bloomberg Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Many Bloomberg reporters, including food critic Peter Elliot, hop over to Le Cirque for lunch.
Le Cirque’s front dining room seats about 120 people.
There’s also the Le Cirque Cafe, which has full service at night, although some lunchtime regulars choose to eat their meals at the bar.