Bouley, the only restaurant in the world with an apple foyer, is closing later this year. But its chef/proprietor, David Bouley, plans to reopen the restaurant in a much smaller space at some point in the not-too-distant-future. To emphasize the finer points of the move, the chef wrote a series of messages down on a piece of paper for Times scribe Jeff Gordinier, like "Bouley is not closing" and "Bouley is on sabbatical." It's a bit of a schtick-y routine, but there's nothing wrong with over-communicating a move like this, especially when your reputation as one of New York's premiere fine dining chef/restaurateurs is at stake. Bouley has been in business for nearly three decades, after all. It's weathered numerous financial storms and still retains three stars from the Times.
The chef already has a new space picked out: the second floor of a townhouse at 17 Harrison Street. This new restaurant will have 20 to 25 seats compared to the 120 seats at its current home, and it will only be open five days a week. Bouley also plans to trim down the dining room and kitchen staff. The chef tells the Times: "I mean, it’s ridiculous how expensive everything is....I feel like I’m on a treadmill. The costs are so high. At the end of the day, I can only charge so much."
And the move to Harrison Street isn't the only big change in the Bouley universe. Next year, the chef plans to move his other restaurants — Brushstroke, Ichimura at Brushstroke, Bouley at Home, and his test kitchen — into a new yet-to-be-determined space. Think of it as a Bouley mini mall in Tribeca.
No word yet on just when, exactly, Bouley will close, but the curtain will likely drop by the end of the year. Immediately following the sale of the space, Bouley plans to spend 18 months traveling the world to learn about new healthy ways to cook, and he also wants to finish the executive M.B.A program at Harvard Business School. The chef will draw upon these experiences when putting together the menu at the new version of Bouley.