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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gordon Ramsay sells L.A. restaurant

Nations Restaurant News
By Lisa

LOS ANGELES (March 9, 2009) Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has sold his Los Angeles restaurant The London West Hollywood to the hotel where it operates, officials confirmed Monday.

The London, which has been open less than a year, was sold to LXR Luxury Resorts, owner of the boutique hotel property that was formerly known as Hotel Bel Age before it was acquired by LXR and renovated last year.

Anne Hersley-Hankins, vice president of corporate communications for LXR Luxury Resorts in New York, said The London West Hollywood’s opening last year “was extremely successful, culminating in the recognition by the Michelin Guide with one star.”

Hersley-Hankins said the 110-seat fine-dining venue would continue using Ramsay’s name and the chef would be involved as a consultant, but day-to-day operations would be managed by the hotel.

Ramsay has not sold his similarly named concept, Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York, which is also located in an LXR hotel.

Like many industry operations, Ramsay’s high-end empire of restaurants has struggled as the difficult economic climate has forced consumers to cut back on dining out, both in the United States and in London, where most of Ramsay’s restaurants are located.

In the United States, the Scotland-born Ramsay is known as the star of the Fox Broadcasting Co.’s television shows “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares.”

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Ramsay’s restaurant company, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, was fined for filing financial reports about six months late. The company recorded net income of $1.92 million for the year ended Aug. 31, 2007.

Ramsay reportedly opened two restaurants in London last year, Murano and York & Albany, as well as a venue at Heathrow Airport called Plane Food. Also in London, the group closed the restaurant Petrus, following a dispute with partner Marcus Wareing, and closed a restaurant it operated in the Connaught Hotel.

Ramsay reportedly also sold the Prague location of his concept Maze to the Hilton hotel where it operates.

News reports have also indicated that Ramsay has put up about 1.6 million British pounds, or $2.2 million, to reassure bankers after breaking banking covenants on a 6.13 million-pound overdraft.

The multi-concept group operates restaurants around the world, including locations of his namesake restaurant Gordon Ramsay near Paris, in Tokyo and in Ireland, as well as two in London.

Contact Lisa Jennings at ljenning@nrn.com.

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