Chef Dan Ross-Leutwyler is closing his small but ambitious Bushwick restaurant Fritzl’s after this weekend, he announced. The chef and owner put the space up for sale back in March, telling Eater that being a sole proprietor had been getting "harder and harder" since the restaurant opened more than three years ago. Now, the restaurant will be ending service after Sunday.
Fritzl's left its mark on the local dining scene. The moderately priced-menu of comfort food dishes, and sparse-yet-pleasant backyard made it a neighborhood favorite. And the restaurant gained city-wide acclaim for its burger, which Eater resident carnivore Nick Solares called one of the most unique in the city. Ross-Leutwyler — a veteran of the Breslin and Roberta’s — also stacked the menu with dishes like beer-battered broccoli and shrimp-and-sweet-corn pancakes that caught the attention of critics.
The chef writes to Eater in an email that he's still negotiating the sale of the space and that he's not sure what he will do next besides "spending as much time as possible with my family." He's married to Pies 'n' Thighs co-owner Carolyn Bane and frequently posts pictures of his son on Fritzl's Instagram. Running Fritzl's meant working more than 70 hours a week for several years, a situation that has forced him to "reevaluate the restaurant life," he writes:
I'm not ruling anything out, but being a chef in a restaurant is a lot less appealing to me given the physical/psychological toll that Fritzl's has taken. Being a chef is just a lot less important to me now, especially since there are many more opportunities available in the food industry today (catering, delivery only "restaurants," pop-ups, etc). It would really have to be a perfect fit for me to consider running a restaurant kitchen again. I hope this doesn't sound too negative. The main thing for me now is family. I have a two-year old son that I don't get to spend enough time with. My wife works crazy hours, too. We've had 4 days off together the past 8 months and that really needs to change.
Stay tuned for what's next for the chef and the Fritzl's space.