The final night of business for The Four Seasons in the Seagram Building was just a regular old dinner service. No star-studded party. No special menu. No celebrity chefs removing their pants and hopping into the pool for photo-ops. No Bethenny Frankel tearing up her divorce papers and tossing them in the water. Times Food section reporter Tejal Rao notes: "It was business as usual on Saturday evening in the grand old guts of the Seagram Building." The room was full of regulars, and as Rao points out, a few first-timers — including an art student who sipped a martini at the bar and smuggled in a slice of pizza in her purse. Times contributor Holly Brubach wrote an elegy for the restaurant that sums up why The Four Seasons was one of the city’s quintessential dining establishments:
On return trips to New York, I was struck by all the ways the restaurant seemed to mirror the culture in which it bloomed: the veneration of money and power, on parade in the Grill at lunchtime; the deference with which they welcomed not only the A-list regulars but the pilgrim tourist; the big statement and bold confidence inherent in design that crystallized the country’s buoyant mood at the time of its opening, in 1959; the sense of theater implicit in the arrangement of the tables and the vaguely madcap Pool Room, an urban pond. It was one of those rare instances when a restaurant manages to capture the soul of a place.
Rita Jammet, the former co-owner of dearly departed Midtown restaurant La Caravelle, was in attendance on the final night. Here’s her photo of the last menu:
One last meal - THE last service #TheFourSeasonsRestaurant #alexvonbidder #julianniccolini #memories #luckyrita pic.twitter.com/HZK8krkakK— Rita Jammet (@CaravelleChamp) July 17, 2016
And here is one last memorable image from inside the restaurant's hallowed walls:
The iconic Four Seasons restaurant closed its doors today this is a portrait taken two nights ago by @RobertBanat pic.twitter.com/uckmnAIR5a— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) July 16, 2016
Everything that’s not affixed to the walls, ceilings, and floors of the landmarked space will be auctioned off on July 26. Curbed NY takes a look at some of the artifacts that are up for auction: "[T]he sale includes table 36, the one set aside for Philip Johnson and his guests (a perfect gift for the power broker in your life); signage, seasonal ashtrays, and plates (for the graphic design fans among you); and serving carts and dishes, bread baskets, stemware, and more by the Huxtables (for the rest of us)."
Now, the Major Food Group is moving into the space to build what will be, in all likelihood, one of the restaurants of the decade. Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick are some of New York City’s most ambitious and successful operators, and by all accounts, they’re planning something big in the Seagram Building.
Four Seasons proprietors Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder will open a new iteration of their famed restaurant at 280 Park Avenue next year. Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld will design the new dining room.
For more information on The Four Seasons and its impact on New York dining, check out Eater’s timeline.