Friday 18 January 2019

Is service really over at popular restaurant?

IS IL Segreto the latest part of the Stokes empire to bite the dust?

This picture, which was taken yesterday afternoon, shows that the eaterie, next to the Unicorn Cafe on Merrion Row, is entirely boarded up without explanation.

While the company went into liquidation earlier this year, there was no indication that it would be closing.

The company's website is no longer available and there is no sign saying the restaurant is closed for renovations or has a reopening date.

Owners Jeff Stokes -- father of Simon and Christian -- and Georgio Casari are no strangers to controversy. They transferred ownership of their successful Unicorn restaurant in the middle of last year -- with suppliers who were still owed €2m being unaware of the move.

It had been understood that the restaurant was part of the Springmanor company, which owed the staggering sum, along with Il Segreto, Unicorn Cafe and the Unicorn Foodstore.

The company was put into liquidation in March with debts of €2m.

But it emerged that the Unicorn Restaurant had ceased to be part of the now-insolvent business in the middle of last year. At that time, the lease was transferred to a new company named Vino Classico, with Georgio Casari listed as a director of the new company.

The trendy Unicorn was considered to be the most valuable asset of the company.

A liquidator was appointed to Springmanor in March after a creditors' meeting at the Harcourt Hotel in Dublin.

Although the company went into liquidation three months ago, this is the first sign that Il Segreto is closed for business.

The Stokes family have rarely been out of the headlines in the last year, with a bar and a number of restaurants built up by Christian and Simon collapsing with debts of €9m last year.


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