From Willamette Week today comes validation of the gossip most of us have been hearing for months.
“The rumors are true: Michael Hebberoy has left ripe, the indie Portland restaurant empire he created with his wife, Naomi, that includes the nationally acclaimed Family Supper as well as the restaurants clarklewis and the Gotham Bldg. Tavern. Early Thursday afternoon, Naomi Hebberoy confirmed that the pair, who have been separated since last September, are divorcing.”
“Michael has given her all the shares and control of the company.”
Read the whole story over on Willamette Week website.
Funny, I just walked in the door from a very long run. As I was going down the waterfront, many of my thoughts revolved around this very subject. There hasn’t been anything from Michael for some time, rumors about all kinds of things have been going around since late last year. I only held it back because I didn’t want to get sued.
I’ve eaten breakfast there several times in the past few months, have been less than impressed and was beginning to wonder if they were going to close up all together. Hopefully this will allow Naomi and staff to focus more on the restaurants and put this behind them. I wish them the best of luck.
It remains to be seen if one person can run three restaurants by themselves. Frankly, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to try; it would be backbreaking, and like she said, they have a 5 year old daughter.
From my observatons, Naomi seems to spend more time at clarklewis and Ripe than GBT. Now she is immediately ending their breakfast service. Makes me think maybe her heart isn’t into Gotham. My bet is GBT closes within a year, unless she brings in a strong business manager and actually lets him run things; not always easy for someone used to being in control. Maybe the chef Habetz will buy it and bring it back around. It should be interesting watching all of this develop.
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11 Responses to “Michael and Naomi: No More”
April 27th, 2006 16:281
Back in December, when podcast listeners were floored by Hebberoy’s hubris, I commented that I did not think he’d be long for the ripe chain.
My opinion had nothing to do with the state of his marriage, but rather that I came away from listening to the interview with “no sense that Hebberoy was talking about food. He could have substituted ‘microchip’ or ‘fine men’s wear’ for ‘whole pig’… being able to truly move people–with one’s art, or food, or humaness–-is not something that can be faked, or not for long. Enjoy the food while ye may.”
From his words, I understood he’d set his vision and grand sense of self on food, it had garnered the following he knew he deserved, but the rest of it? The grumblings from hoi polloi and questions about his judgment? How common. How base. How unworthy of what ripe was all about.
I thought, then, he’d chuck food for real estate, or record producing, and pretty soon.
Personally, I hope Naomi kicks ass with the business. Habetz is a fantastic chef, and the ripe spaces are great.
- Dave J.
April 27th, 2006 20:042
Well put, Nancy. For all the griping I do about the various ripe eateries, I’d be devastated if any/all of them closed. I hope Naomi can be content running three outstanding restaurants, and not feel the need to be some sort of avatar of a new food-but-beyond-food movement.
April 27th, 2006 20:123
From one single mom to another, I wish Naomi all the best.
But is it too mean to hope that Matthew Stadler’s days are similarly numbered? Please say no…
- Food Dude
April 27th, 2006 20:254
Betsy, that is the first thing I thought too ;>)
April 28th, 2006 08:465
This is surely a case of addition by subtraction for Ripe. Good luck to Naomi and the two chefs in restoring the focus to food. However if Ripe is in need of a humble and sincere spokesman I would like to offer my services. Vapiroy?
April 28th, 2006 09:256
Instead of kill the restaurant, it’s become kill the marriage… Seriously though, working with your significant other can be very disastrous. I wish them both well as no one can argue that they had an influence on Portland’s restaurant scene. Now if they will only get rid of the pretentious writer in residence, I might eat there again…
April 29th, 2006 02:037
At the end of service today (Friday) Gotham Tavern is now closed. Just heard it from the employees themselves. What a shame. Seriously.
- Food Dude
April 29th, 2006 13:148
Blase – I seriously doubt that. In these days of BOLI representation, if they did that, it would mean that the whole empire is crumbling.
April 29th, 2006 13:409
hmmmm….there used to be a Rome….
April 29th, 2006 13:4810
‘Given her shares and control of the company’?
Now that sounds like ‘left her behind holding the bag’, doesn’t it?
May 2nd, 2006 11:5311
I am in shock about what has happened. Did anyone expect this?