Nello's managed to open for the dinner rush, but not before its owner was shut out by tax officials who changed the locks and slapped a sign saying the restaurant had been "SEIZED."
A spokeswoman for Nello Balan's restaurant group was taken aback when informed of the closure, exclaiming "Holy sh--!" to the New York Post. The owner of the Madison Ave. eatery has a long history of tax problems dating back to the 1990s and his restaurants have been the target of a number of liens.
Balan is accused of not paying millions of dollars in back taxes to New York State, not that the restaurateur couldn't afford it. Nello is a Manhattan hotspot--known as much for its celebrity sightings and attendant paparazzi as for its pricey menu. The price of a bowl of soup can run about $40 and a single cocktail is $27.