Ciao Grappa’s?

First Dan Ryan was eased out of Pacific Place. Now it appears the Italian restaurant Grappa’s is under threat of having to close when its contract expires later this year. Negotiations are still underway between the owners, El Grande Concepts, and Swire Properties. But there is speculation that at least some in Swire Properties management want Grappa’s out. Grappa’s has had this location since 1990 and still remains extremely popular.  Lamenting the closure of Dan Ryan’s  and of Xen some years ago, Mike Rowse in the South china Morning Post observed, “Damn it, they are part of our cultural heritage. Scrapping them is not modernisation or progress, it is social vandalism. At the end of the day, their passing will be a monument to the power of our property tycoons to ignore public opinion and taste, and simply go their own way, as if we didn’t have enough reminders already.” Much the same can be said about Grappa’s which has become  something of an institution. Like Dan Ryan’s it has high sales per square foot and pays an-eye-watering high rent.

The reasoning behind easing out Dan Ryan’s and possibly Grappa’s is that retail sales are slipping at Pacific Place, as they are generally in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the Swire management is apparently envious of the buzz surrounding IFC mall in Central. Alvin Kong was appointed Director of the company’s retail portfolio in September 2014 and is responsible for the leasing and management of Swire’s retail portfolio in Asia. He apparently believes that Pacific Place need “freshening up.”

so Dan Ryan’s will be replaced by a Japanese Italian fusion restaurant run by Chef Bombana’s Otto e Mezzo group. Now whether Italian-Japanese fusion is going to be a success in Hong Kong remains a moot point. Some restaurants that have tried it aren’t doing so well. Another innovation at Swire Pacific has been TWG TEA. Despite being ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ it does a fraction of the business done by Dan Ryan’s and Grappa’s.

The same can be said for the pop-up champagne and caviar place on the third floor of the mall which has a two-month deal.There has ben some speculation that this might be the sort of thing Swire has in mind for the Grappa’s location. It remains to be seen whether this ‘fresh look” for the mall attracts the increase in shoppers that Swire is seeking or whether those dismayed by the closure of these restaurants go elsewhere.





11 thoughts on “Ciao Grappa’s?

  1. Lara Wozniak

    The sad thing is Dan Ryan’s was hopping — positively hopping — Saturday night post movies. It was such a good thing to see.

  2. Jim Walker

    If Grappa’s goes it will be the last time I ever set foot in Pacific Place Mall. It is already a pale shadow of its former self – this would be the last straw.

  3. Jame DiBiasio

    I don’t know what the fuss is about. TWG TEA is such a fabulous concept, and it’s really rather nice walking past it and seeing the vast empty plains and open spaces, so rare in normally crowded Hong Kong, and completely unlike the beastly, crowded conditions in Dan Ryan’s and Grappa’s.

  4. HooperX

    I agree with Mike Rowse….these are restaurants that are massively popular and transcend the limited thinking of people simply looking for the next big thing. Dan Ryan’s and Grappa’s are hugely popular. Thus, the logic of the next new thing should not apply. The old adage applies: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The arrogance and blind devotion to the latest trend published in Restaurant Today, or whatever, is one more sign of the infection now spreading in Hong Kong: Let’s kill clear thinking.

  5. Forse

    Soooo sad to see Dan Ryans leaving after 27(!) years. Swire are stupid. Of course the new fusion place won’t bring in more business. Dans was one of the reasons we went to PP. A bowl of chill before the movies.
    Now we won’t step foot again in PP.

  6. Stewart Aldcroft

    Given the relatively short life span of most restaurants in Hong Kong, est. less than 3 years on average, to get rid of veteran places such as Dan Ryan’s and Grappa’s seems to me to be a very high risk change, just before what looks like a tougher economic climate.
    There’s no accounting for stupidity!

  7. Hamish Blyth

    Excellent revelation, Howard and Jim Walker also calls it absolutely right.
    I add that there is a huge brown envelope in the offing for someone in Swires’ management who arranges matters to the satisfaction of a ‘new’ tenant. Reminds me of the sad demise of the excellent “Domani”. Another Swire cock-up.
    Ho-ho, Hong Kong ‘hongs’ operating at their very usual best.

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