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Happy Trails to You, Fatty Crab, it Was Fun While it Lasted

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Tracking the rise and fall of the Fatty empire

Robert Sietsema

Fatty Crab, the Hudson Street cafe that spawned a mini-empire of casual Southeast Asian-inspired restaurants, is now closed for good. Chef Zak Pelaccio opened the restaurant back in 2005, but he left the Fatty Group a few years ago to focus on Fish & Game, his restaurant in Hudson, NY. On Friday, the management posted an announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page about the closure. Part of the message reads:

Sadly our time in the West Village is done. Our lease has ended and we are not in a position to pay almost double the rent. During that period, we have seen many Meatpacking venues come and go (virtually all of them). Unfortunately, the day of the small neighborhood shop is coming to an end. So, we bid you all Goodbye for now. We are so thankful for all who have supported us, worked with us and patronized our establishment.

In 2009, Pelaccio opened an Upper West Side iteration of Fatty Crab, and a year after that, he debuted Fatty ‘Cue in Williamsburg. The chef also opened an affiliated West Village Mexican restaurant called Cabrito. That space later housed a pop-up called Fatty Johnson’s, and after that a more formal outpost of Fatty ‘Cue took its place. The team also opened Fatty Crab spinoffs in St. John and Hong Kong, but now all those restaurants are closed. The Fatty empire no longer exists.

Here’s a snippet of Peter Meehan’s $25 and under review of the original Fatty Crab from October 2005:

At this newest addition to the moneyed playground that is the meatpacking district, plates are small, whole meals could be purchased in a Chinatown restaurant for what a bowl of chili crab runs, and there is a thoughtfully chosen wine list that's perhaps a touch too buttoned up.

But don't let all that fool you. It is next to impossible to make it through a meal there without one or more Wet-Nap interludes. Tallboys of Pabst Blue Ribbon are on the beer list. Most important, Mr. Pelaccio has done little to dumb down or dress up what his kitchen is turning out.

As Robert Sietsema noted last week, Pelaccio is now cooking Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine once again at his casual new tavern BackBar in Hudson.

Fatty Crab - Meatpacking

643 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 352-3590 Visit Website