Last month, six year-old high end Lower East side Italian restaurant Falai along with its sister Falai Panetteria went on the market. And yesterday Grub Street noticed Falai was closed "due to technical difficulties." Today, owner Iacopo Falai confirms to Eater that yes, he is closing the restaurant for good for financial reasons, but Caffe Falai in Soho and his bakery Falai Panetteria will remain open.
He says he is happy, he is relieved, he is relaxed, and by the sound of his voice, it's hard not to believe him. Says Falai, "At the end of the day, our average check since January was one appetizer, two pastas. That's it. You could really see the difference from 2010," noting that the beauty of owning a restaurant solo is the independence to make one's own decisions, but the downside is there are no investors to turn to when times get tough. He also blames an underground fire in January that cost him $25,000 in lost business that insurance wouldn't cover.
Now Falai will spend the majority of his time in the kitchen at Caffe Falai. He adds, "I'm happy because I have less to worry about and I can just cook. I'd rather be in the kitchen every single day, and I'll be more relaxed. I'm very lucky on Lafayette." The chef explains that he won't be changing the menu at the Caffe to include the more elevated fare at his original restaurant, but he is considering adding something akin to a degustation room for 10 - 15 people should the landlord give him more space next year, noting, "At a point I'm going to miss that kind of food. It's my life."
He's going to think over what to do with the original Falai space, perhaps finding a friend to take over the lease or selling it. Says Falai, "It's great to be in New York, because here you close the restaurant, you can open another one, you learn how to change."
· All Coverage of Falai [~ENY~]
[Photo via Kalina]