The always-opinionated Steve Cuozzo — perhaps the only person ever to serve as a real estate reporter and restaurant critic at the same time — wants restaurant fans (and the media) to stop blaming landlords for the demise of beloved restaurants. In an opinion piece today, Cuozzo argues that they aren't to blame:
The evil-landlord narrative holds sway. ‘Another restaurant lost to escalating rent,' howled a recent New York Times headline. The emphasis is so contrary to truth that it might be funny.
Cuozzo sticks with a change is good narrative: "The rough-and-tumble market allows newer, more energized restaurants to renew venues gone stale; offers operators new homes when their time's up at old ones..."
Fans of classic New York restaurants who aren't as comfortable with change are currently facing upheaval at The Four Seasons, where the Torrisi boys will take over in a year. Here, Cuozzo (like Eater editor Amanda Kludt) declares: "it needed new blood." And, downtown, now that Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe has found a new home for 2016 and Japanese udon chain Tsurutontan is set to move in on East 16th Street, Cuozzo wants to know: "Could there be any happier outcome?"
The deluge of farewell pieces we can all expect for Union Square Cafe and The Four Seasons might prove otherwise.