It was America’s worst partnership.
Restaurateur Phil Casaceli is dishing about the eatery he and “America’s Worst Chef” host Anne Burrell opened and closed in dramatic fashion.
Phil & Anne’s Good Time Lounge was an instant hit when it popped up on Brooklyn’s buzzing Smith St. in May 2017. But Casaceli said the venture became anything but fun when Burrell started throwing her star status around a month after they opened.
“Everything changed,” he told Confidential. “It was like she was stepping on the set.”
Two weeks ago, after nearly a year of bickering, Casaceli claims Burrell shut the place down and turned the staff loose, supposedly without his knowledge.
“It was like I was a piece of crap,” he said.
According to Casaceli, 49, he and Burrell, 48, became friends around 2005 when she was a regular at his West Village tavern Daddy-O, which he’s run for 18 years. When they went into business together in Carroll Gardens, it was Casaceli’s understanding that having been raised in a restaurant family and dedicating his entire life to the hospitality business, he would run the front of the house. He figured Burrell, the star chef, would handle the kitchen.
But then, according to Casaceli, Burrell took charge, arguing that her “celebrity” status was the restaurant’s main draw. Casaceli claimed that after he dealt with the restaurant’s licenses and permits, he was pushed aside.
“She used me in a way, I think,” he said.
According to Casaceli, Burrell sided with management against him in arguments and became dismissive of his suggestions after she continued pouring her own money into the place, which he couldn’t match. Things came to a head for Casaceli when he booked a table for 12 for family that was in town and was told by a manager, allegedly backed by Burrell, that his big group would have to choose from a limited menu. He sent them to Daddy-O instead.
“The real Anne Burrell is not who you see on TV,” he said.
A rep for Burrell told Confidential that she did not close the restaurant and blamed “a difference of opinion” for making the partnership “impossible.” Both sides claim the other has been unwilling to meet.