Paul Attardi, maitre d' at Fruition, the restaurant he co-owned with chef Alex Seidel, has left the dining room on Sixth Avenue right before Christmas never to return again. Attardi who, by many accounts, set the standard for customer service in the restaurant world, decided to take an early retirement and move away from the high-impact routine of the dining industry and back to North Carolina.
Years before Fruition, Paul Attardi worked at Sean Kelly's Aubergine Cafe. As Aubergine closed and the space became home to Frank Bonanno's Mizuna, Attardi joined that opening team. Mizuna was where chef Alex Seidel and Paul Attardi got introduced, later opening Fruition together.
Attardi had scaled down his work load in the last couple of years to three or four days a week and, in December, he said goodbye to Fruition and his staff for good. "It's been six great years. We will miss him. He was the best host that I have ever seen" chef and co-owner Alex Seidel said.
With big shoes to fill, has a replacement been found? "I am working on that right now. It is a really important decision for me and I am taking my time. We are lucky. Most of the front of the house staff has been here since day one, so we haven't really missed a beat," chef Alex Seidel explained. "Things like this are just an opportunity to improve and go back to why we opened Fruition - not to be a farm-to-table restaurant or to be a fine dining restaurant- Paul and I opened Fruition because we liked to welcome people into our dining room and wanted to make them happy. That's what we'll continue to do at Fruition," he added.