Long Island City critical darling Bear is closing its doors this week after five years in the business. Siblings Natasha and Sasha Pogrebinsky decided not to renew the lease for the Eastern European restaurant for personal reasons, according to a note on Facebook.
The fact is we survived for five years in an extremely challenging industry in an extremely challenging location, and now we feel we need to take a break personally so we can live life a little bit. Ask anyone who is a restaurateur and they will tell you, when you own a restaurant it becomes your life – you are the will and mercy of your customers, of changing real estate prices and demographics, and unforeseen acts of god – so running a restaurant, or any small business in this city, is truly an all-consuming endeavor, and we feel that after five years a nice break is not too much to ask.
Natasha Pogrebinsky's food received a favorable review in the Times, with praise directed at her delicate take on Eastern European dishes like kulebyaka fish pie and veal dumplings, and despite its remote location on the border between Astoria and Long Island City, Bear became a popular restaurant. Its last day will be Thursday, April 28.
Pogrebinsky will still be cooking. She's taken over the kitchen at Williamsburg bar The Starlight, she tells DNAinfo. It's more typical American pub fare, like burgers and steak and baked potatoes, but pieorgies make an appearance as well. "It's very different from what I do at Bear, but I love cooking this food just as much," she says.