clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Top New York Restaurant Stories of 2012

New, 6 comments

Here's a brief look back at the biggest restaurant openings, closings, chef shuffles, disasters, scandals, reviews, and lawsuits of 2012. And, as a bonus, this guide also includes lists of the most read and most commented-on posts on Eater this year.

[The Harbor Light Pub in Belle Harbor. Photo: Claire Nugent]
Hurricane Sandy causes severe damage to restaurants in Red Hook, the South Street Seaport, the Financial District, Brighton Beach, the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Dumbo, as well as Staten Island and many parts of Jersey. The restaurants below 34th street lose power for several days. They later struggle to get insurance money to cover the loss of business. Restaurants rally together to raise money for the closed businesses.

Spanish neurosurgeon-turned-chef Dr. Miguel Sanchez Romera shutters his ambitious and pricey fine dining restaurant Romera after just 25 weeks in business.

[Dale Talde's Bodega Week video]
Dale Talde opens two restaurants and joins another one as partner and chef.

[A Critical Cat reciting a line from Pete Wells's La Mar Cebicheria review.]
Pete Wells begins his tenure as New York Times critic.

Eleven Madison Park unveils a brand new NYC history-themed menu. Pete Wells files a blog post criticizing the New York narrative and parts of the new menu. Humm and Guidara make some drastic changes and end the year on a high note.

[The Line for Pok Pok on June 30. Photo: @hannaleenyc]
West Coast imports Mission Chinese Food and Pok Pok NY open to immediate acclaim and monster crowds.

The people behind M. Wells open a new restaurant inside MoMa P.S. 1 and plan a restaurant/boat factory nearby.

A totally random Philly-based restaurant group wins the bid to the Tavern on the Green space.

[The line for Ivan at Momofuku Noodle Bar this summer]
Ramen guru Ivan Orkin comes to New York. He hosts a few wildly popular dinners and plans a LES ramen restaurant.

Guy Fieri opens a monster Times Square restaurant. It quickly becomes the most critically reviled restaurant in recent memory.

[Sign in the window the day of the staff overhaul]
Taavo Somer clears the kitchen at his critically acclaimed restaurant Isa. It reopens a few days later with a straightforward Italian menu, and the buzz dies down.

[Michael White with Psy]
Michael White opens a pizzeria serving Wisconsin-style pies. All the critics hate it.

Roberta's chef Carlo Mirarchi opens a fine dining spinoff, Blanca. It earns a Michelin star after just a few months in business.

[The Great GoogaMooga by Krieger]
Food and music fest The Great GoogaMooga flops, big time.

Momofuku opens a bar, Booker and Dax.

[Atera's menacing squab claw. Photo: Wordsmithing Pantagruel]
Atera and The Nomad open a few days apart from each other. Both of them become critical darlings.

Andrew Carmellini opens The Library in Noho and announces plans for a French restaurant in the old Chinatown Brasserie space. He taps Damon Wise to be the chef de cuisine.

[Chez Sardine]
Gabe Stulman opens two restaurants and plans another one with Tien Ho.

[Fredrik Berselius and Eamon Rockey]
Frej pops up at Kinfolk Studios, earns rave reviews, and closes. Chef Fredrik Berselius teams up with Eamon Rockey for another project at Kinfolk called Aska.

[Joe Bastianich with Psy]
Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich reach a $1.15 million settlement in a Del Posto lawsuit.

[Acme, one of the year's big surprises. Photo: Krieger]
The Most Notable Openings of 2012 (in no particular order): L'Apicio, La Vara, The Nomad, BrisketTown, Pig & Khao, Aska, Pok Pok NY, Atera, Mission Chinese Food, Acme, Perla, The Marrow, Nicoletta, El Toro Blanco, Salvation Taco, Governor, M. Wells Dinette, Bowery Diner, Bill's, Rosemary's, Talde, Hakkasan, Reynard, Arlington Club, The Library, North End Grill, Hanjan, The Pines.

[Shaun Hergatt by Krieger]
The Most Notable Chef Shuffles of 2012 (in no particular order): Peter Serpico, Franklin Becker, Didier Elena, Laurie Jon Moran, Brian Nasworthy, Francis Derby, Shaun Hergatt, Preston Clark, Corwin Kave, Damian Sansonetti, Nathan Foot, Phillip Kirschen-Clark.

[RIP Chinatown Brasserie]
The Most Notable Closings of 2012 (in no particular order): Romera, Bill's Gay Nineties, Masten Lake, Manganaro's, Stage Delicatessen, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Niko, Vandaag, Prime Burger, Ben Benson's, Lotus of Siam, Fatty Crab UWS, Chinatown Brasserie, Mercado on Kent, King, Centrico, La Petite Maison, Gravy, Mary Queen of Scots, Bar Basque, Kate's Joint, Hotel Griffou, Primehouse, MPD, The New French, El Faro, University Restaurant, Lani Kai, Holiday Cocktail Lounge, Frankies 17/Francesca, Ellabess, Kibo, Little Giant, BLT Market, Thé Adoré, Adour, Gilt.

Eater's Most-Read Posts of 2012:
1) The Eater 38
2) Mapping 20 of NYC's Most Underrated Restaurants
3) A Guide to New York's "Secret" Restaurants and Dining Rooms
4) 12 Epic New York City Pastas to Eat Before You Die
5) New York's Hottest Brunch Spots, Spring 2012
6) The Ultimate Hurricane Sandy Dining Guide to NYC
7) 15 Epic New York Burgers to Eat Before You Die
8) A Guide to New York's "Secret" Bars
9) New York City's 20 Most Iconic Dishes
10) A Guide to New York's "Secret" Ramen Shops

Eater's Most Commented-On Posts of 2012:
1) Animal Rights Activists Start Campaign Against M. Wells
2) What Are New York's Best Mexican Restaurants?
3) The Ultimate Hurricane Sandy Dining Guide to NYC
4) What is the Most Underrated Restaurant in New York?
5) Ex-Isa Chef Ignacio Mattos Responds to Taavo Somer
6) What is the One Restaurant You Miss the Most?
7) 15 Epic New York Burgers to Eat Before You Die
8) Williamsburg's Masten Lake Closes After Seven Months
9) PJ Clarke's Bartender Fired For Telling Lecher to Leave
10) What Would Your Last Meal in New York Be?

· All Coverage of The Year in Eater [~ENY~]

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world