Cello's New HQ Features Fine Dining

Cello Music and Film Systems is not merely one of the world's most prestigious names in audio and video. This week, a plush restaurant is opening at the company's new headquarters at 53 East 77th Street (212 517-1200) on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Cello, as the bar/restaurant/garden is appropriately named, will serve dinner by invitation only until mid-June, when it will be opened to the public, according to Florence Fabricant in the May 19 edition of the New York Times.

Cello, the company, is in the process of moving into the townhouse, which cost $5 million to renovate. The multi-level building was originally a residence, but served as headquarters for Funk & Wagnalls for 40 years. Fabricant describes the interior as sumptuous: "in walnut, plum wood, and rich velour," with a "monumental" rendering of cellos by French-American sculptor Arman as its centerpiece.

The restaurant is being operated in partnership with Jacques Le Magueresse, former maître d'hotel of Le Bernardin of New York and Paris. Chef Laurent Tourondel's mostly seafood menu will range from $62 per person to about $90. "Subdued" music will be played in the dining room, according to Le Magueresse.

The restaurant, garden, and building renovations were all conceived and set in motion by Mark Levinson, Cello's former director. His plans for the company and its new HQ were detailed in "Cello's First Chair," a November 1997 Stereophile feature story. Levinson has departed the company he founded in the mid-1980s and is in the process of rolling out a new venture, Red Rose Music.