UPDATE: An attorney representing the family that owns the original Harry's Bar in Venice denies that Leopold Balestrieri has obtained the rights to the Harry's name. In an email to New Times, New York attorney Christy L. Reuter writes that "information you received is totally false, and we intend to pursue all remedies at law and equity against anyone providing such false information." Balestrieri says he registered the name as a Florida company and it will have no connection to the Harry's in Venice.
Local restauranteur Leopold Balestrieri, who recently obtained rights to the name of the upscale bar and restaurant, told New Times he is planning the renovation of a space located at 400 Hibiscus Ave., just one block north of the well-known Worth Ave. shopping district.
We've told you that Florence-born Balestrieri, who has established eateries in foodie cities from Toronto, Canada to Manhattan, recently sold his latest venture -- Apicius Ristorante e Enoteca in Lantana. What we didn't mention: his new focus will be to open Harry's Bar.
Said to be the home of the Bellini and Carpaccio, Harry's Bar -- which first opened its doors in 1931 in Venice, Italy by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani -- is a worldwide tourist destination known for celebrity sightings, once including the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote and Orson Welles.
Harry's Bar currently has several locations worldwide, including U.S. locations in Manhattan and San Francisco.
But it's the original Italian experience Balestrieri is most interested in bringing to Palm Beach.
"I've been going [to Harry's] since I was a child. We lived just around the corner [in Italy], and my father would take me for lunch," Balestrieri told New Times. "It's going to be ultra-chic. A place where you can get a real cocktail and have an amazing dining experience unlike anything Palm Beach has ever had."
Balestrieri said he will not be involved in the kitchen, as is his hallmark with past establishments. He is currently working on gathering a handpicked team he calls "the creme de la creme" of the country's bar and restaurant scene. An executive chef has not yet been selected.
We will continue to update news on the progress of Harry's Bar.