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Restaurant/Orange Pajama Pants Emporium Spice Market to Leave its MePa Home

How could this happen?

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[Spice Market/Facebook]

Spice Market — a restaurant where the servers are dressed like they're attending a slumber party sponsored by Fanta — is being forced to leave its home at 403 West 13th Street. The Real Deal reports that the building's new landlord, Midtown Equities, is planning to boot Jean-Georges Vongerichten's 12-year-old restaurant and its neighbor, the furniture store Vitra, when their leases are up next year. Midtown Equities is hoping to find a big name tenant who wants to open an "experiential" flagship like the nearby Samsung-branded showroom/event space at 837 Washington Street. David Beare, the director of licensing at Midtown Equities notes: "The Meatpacking District is becoming the destination for experiential retail....Those kinds of retailers want huge space."  This building also houses Soho House, but Midtown Equities has not announced plans to make any changes to that space.

Although it's no longer a destination for foodies like was when it opened in 2004, Spice Market is one of Jean-Georges's most widely-known restaurants. It's big, it's silly, it's got a throbbing techno beat, and a meal here doesn't come cheap. But this is a seminal Meatpacking District establishment along the lines of Pastis or Buddakan — it's one of the tiny neighborhood's biggest crowd-pleasers. Jean-Georges hasn't announced any information about the future of the restaurant. Eater has reached out to team JGV for more information. Stay tuned for more updates on the fate of Spice Market as they become available.

UPDATE: Spice Market has issued a statement:

With the recent articles about Spice Market leaving its current location, we'd like to clarify the reports and state that Spice Market continues ongoing discussions with Midtown Equities on the lease, which specifically provides for a 5-year renewal clause in mid-2017.

No decision has been made yet, but we look forward to continuing those discussions and announcing our plans.   We believe Mr. Beare's original quotes were in reference to the Meatpacking District as a whole, not Spice Market specifically, and reports that the restaurant is leaving its current location are premature.