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While Mario Batali continues to face repercussions amid several allegations of sexual harassment, hundreds of his employees will soon be without jobs as his culinary empire plans to shutter some of its largest restaurants this summer.
Batali’s three eateries on the Las Vegas Strip will shut down in the next 60 days, according to an announcement from Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
“I write with sad news this morning,” Joe Bastianich, a B&B Hospitality Group partner, stated in a letter (supplied to TODAY Food) to all 298 affected employees on Friday. “B&B Ristorante, Otto and CarneVino in Las Vegas will close on July 27.”
“These restaurants have continued to succeed, and they are a tribute to every one of you who works in them and brings great dining experiences to our guests,” wrote Bastianich.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation owns all three restaurant properties and the impending closures came as a result of Sands Corp.’s decision to terminate all business with the Batali brand.
According to a company representative, B&B Hospitality Group will work to support its employees in securing new jobs. Despite cutting ties with Batali's group, Sands Corp. has also offered to help restaurant workers find new opportunities, as well.
A B&B Hospitality representative told TODAY Food that the closure is “a Mario-based decision.” The group, which employs over 1,700 people globally in more than two dozen restaurants and food shops, removed Batali from its day-to-day operations in December and is now in talks with the celebrity chef to buy out his financial stake in the company.
The restaurants' closure announcement follows a recently aired “60 Minutes” interview that revealed new details of Batali’s alleged misconduct. A criminal investigation has since been launched by the New York City Police Department.
Amidst the brand's struggle to move past Batali’s alleged behavior, B&B Hospitality Group hopes to one day re-enter the market in one of America's top tourist destinations.
“I am committed to continuing our presence in Las Vegas … but it will take some time to execute,” Bastianich told his Nevada employees in the letter. According to a company representative, Bastianich also visited each of the Las Vegas restaurants on Friday to speak with workers directly about the closing.
“I know this is sudden and difficult,” the former MasterChef Junior judge wrote to his employees. “You are all dedicated professionals who deliver night in and night out for our guests, you are part of our family, and we will all feel your loss."
He added, "Thank you for everything you have done for the restaurants and our guests. You should feel only pride in everything you have accomplished.”