The dream that was B.E.S., Patrick Duffy’s uber-fabulous restaurant and playground, has become a nightmare. After receiving a mass email sent to some “close” friends, I called Duffy to find out what was up. He told me of impossible hurdles and partners with different visions, and problems lurking underneath all those other problems. These are all the things people say when a place isn’t making money. The great Arthur Weinstein taught me that when a joint is making money, even partners that despise one another get along just fine.
B.E.S. has many problems, including location, location, location. The oldest cliché in business is that location makes the biggest statement, but it can be overcome if everything else clicks. The place didn’t click. Well, sometimes it did, but when you are located a million miles from life as we know it, it’s hard. I told Patrick that he had done everything humanly possible, but that it was uphill from the start. The place is beautiful, the crowd fun and relevant, but alas, the things that were not in his control — old debt, food, and at in the beginning, service — may doom the place. All were inconsistent.
I made waves once when I described some blueberry pancakes as tasting like an old bra with warm jelly on it. I have some experience with old bras, blueberries, and pancakes — separately and mixed together — and I stuck to my description. That didn’t endear me to some. Oh well. The place was too far away to gamble on a good meal. When I did go, it was for Patrick and Jordan Fox, and it was always worth the trip. Unless I was hungry. In fairness, sometimes I got a great meal, especially when it seemed that Patrick was in control of the kitchen. I am sure fingers and tongues will be pointed, but from what I could see and from what I heard from insiders, my man couldn’t stop the bleeding, as inexperience and attitude all around prevented him from making it work.
Patrick apparently has something lined up right across the street, and will of course be doing fabulous things very soon. I won’t worry about him. He said in his mass e-mail:
But have no fear, I am working on some very exciting new projects with an incredible team of collaborators. Every moment in life happens for a reason and I am extremely thankful and blessed for all I have received. I will keep you posted on the new ventures and all the wonderful things in OUR future! See you in the SUN! Mr Patrick Duffy”
I’m curious to see what happens to the space if B.E.S. goes down the tubes. The previous incarnations were all awful (Mr. West the worst), but alas, with its location at 559 west 22nd street, I just can’t imagine anything working. Another few steps and you’re swimming with the fishes.
UPDATE: A previous version of this post referred to B.E.S. as closing; manager Edward Lee weighs in to the effect that this is far from the case.