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Order Up: The Restaurant at 251

An excerpt from this week's Dish review on the Restaurant at 251, formerly da Francesco's:

Picture this: You've been invited for dinner at a friend's house. He prepared a lovely meal - a salad of baby lettuces and herbs from the garden, and a whole roasted pork loin dressed with sage and thyme. Midway through your pork loin - so juicy and tender - your host gets up. He removes the empty chairs from the room. He licks his fingers, snuffs out the candles on the centerpiece, and turns up the chandelier to its brightest setting. And then he hovers over you, waiting and watching as you chew your last few bites.

There will not be any dessert.

There's nothing worse you can do in a restaurant than make your customers feel unwelcome. Yet that's exactly what happened at the Restaurant at 251, a five-month-old organic Italian restaurant in Palm Beach.

The problems at 251 aren't limited to what's going down inside the restaurant. Since the beginning of September, the restaurant's owners have been in a bitter dispute with 251 Partners, the group that leases the space. There have been noise complaints, lawsuits, and visits from the Palm Beach police department. And now the restaurant team that launched it as da Francesco's in April is exiled. Even for Palm Beach, this situation is strange and scandalous.

Find out more when Dish debuts tomorrow. In the mean time, check out a little of the backstory here.

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John Linn

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