Failure to Communicate
Today’s big news: Roland Liccioni, who put Le Français back on the map in the nineties, is apparently leaving Old Town Brasserie (1209 N. Wells St.; 312-943-3000) just before Christmas. “I’m going to France to visit my mother, take some time off,” Liccioni says. After that, he has no plans, but would like to stay in Chicago. Bob Djahanguiri, OTB’s owner, sees it differently. “I told him, ‘You go to France and when you come back we will sit down. And if you agree with my agreement, we will work together.’ . . . Roland is a great chef but the restaurant is not just the food. Honestly, he wants to stay.” During Liccioni’s absence, Andy Motto, a Charlie Trotter’s veteran who has worked with Liccioni for 12 years, is handling the kitchen in Old Town. Liccioni gave his notice last month—“handled it professionally,” says Djahanguiri—but during the ensuing weeks, Djahanguiri says, the two have tried to work out an agreement, a claim that Liccioni finds baffling. “If he wants to negotiate, I don’t know because he hasn’t said anything to me,” Liccioni says. “In my mind I know I’m leaving. That’s it.” Jeez, someone get these two a mediator. Communicate, boys!