Greenmarket-obsessed chef Peter Hoffman is closing his four-year-old Soho restaurant Back Forty West on July 16. Hoffman tells Flo Fab that after Back Forty West takes its final bow, he will start a sabbatical from the restaurant industry. During this time, the chef plans to work on a book.
26 years ago, Hoffman opened the trailblazing farm-to-table restaurant Savoy on the corner of Prince and Crosby Streets in Soho. Despite consistently good reviews, including a two-star assessment from the Times in 2009, the chef decided to close Savoy in 2011 and replace it with an iteration of his more casual East Village restaurant, Back Forty. The new restaurant got favorable reviews — Pete Wells even liked it more than the original. Two years into its run, Back Forty West lost opening chef Shanna Pacifico, and a few months later, Hoffman closed the original Avenue B restaurant, citing a "difficult landscape and lease uncertainty." Now he’s moving on from the Soho corner that he’s worked in over the last two and half decades.
In an email blast to friends and customers this week, Hoffman notes:
In addition to any activist work you might find me involved with, look forward to curated events, pop-ups, and more published prose from me. It’s not that running a restaurant is any more challenging today than it was when we took over an old luncheonette on a crack vial strewn block of not-really Soho in 1990, I am just less stimulated by the prospect of meeting those challenges. Writing a food memoir and deepening my relationships with the activist food community is what I have set my sights on.
On July 15, the night before the restaurant’s grand finale, Back Forty West will host one last communal crab boil. Tickets are $58.