The end of the year is always a particularly vulnerable time for restaurant closures, the reason being that many want to get the higher-than-normal sales from the holiday season before biting the dust.
This year is no exception, with four restaurants already announcing their departure from New York City’s dining scene. More are sure to come in January, but for now, here’s a look at what restaurants will no longer exist in 2018.
Saturday, December 23: GG’s
It’s an Alphabet City pizza swap: Nick Morgenstern’s popular grandma pie East Village restaurant GG’s is closing, with hit Williamsburg Detroit-style pizza place Emmy Squared to replace it. Morgenstern will focus on new projects, namely a new Ace Hotel restaurant.
In the three years it’s been open at 511 East 5th Street between Avenues A and B, GG’s was wildly popular, particularly for a killer happy hour where a slice of chef Bobby Hellen’s traditional grandma pie could be had for $4. But the restaurant also gained acclaim for a variety of pies, such as ones that are clam-topped or vodka-sauced.
Those who want to retain a piece of the restaurant forever can purchase an “RIP GG’s” shirt.
Saturday, December 30: Republic
Longtime noodle shop Republic is succumbing to a rent increase after 20 years in Union Square. The 3,800-square-foot restaurant went for $220,000 a year in 1995. Now, owner Jonathan Morr will vacate the space three-and-a-half years early so he can “split the difference between what [the landlord] gets from us and what he’ll get from the next tenant, and call it a day,” he told Bloomberg.
Republic isn’t the only restaurant forced to desert the neighborhood it helped create — Union Square Cafe faced this same issue in 2014, opening in the at-the-time less desirable neighborhood with an affordable 10- to 25-year leases. In that time period, these restaurants contribute to the neighborhood increasing in value, which in turn causes landlords to raise rents to unsustainable highs once a lease is up.
Sunday, December 31: Saltie
After eight years serving sandwiches to Williamsburg, beloved neighborhood shop Saltie will soon depart. Owner Caroline Fidanza is quick to say it’s not a rent issue, but a personal decision. Come February, the space will become a second location of another Brooklyn sandwich shop, Court Street Grocers, with hopes of keeping the Saltie staff.
The tiny restaurant at 378 Metropolitan Avenue has long been a neighborhood favorite, considered one of the best restaurants in the area for its baked goods and simple daytime fare such as the Scuttlebutt sandwich with hard boiled egg, feta, olives, capers, and pickles on freshly baked focaccia loaf. For those truly bereft, at least there is a Saltie cookbook from which to recreate favorite recipes.
Sunday, December 31: Le Cirque
One of New York's most famous restaurants, Le Cirque will close after one last New Year’s Eve banger. Like so many before it, it will succumb to rent disputes. The more than 40-year-old Le Cirque is a seminal French fine dining restaurant that’s graduated chefs like Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Jacques Torres, and Michael Lomonaco.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing: Earlier this year, the restaurant at 151 East 58th Street filed for bankruptcy. According to the filing, the family owed between $500,000 and $1 million to more than 100 creditors. The restaurant’s also been a recent target of a sexual harassment lawsuit and a wage lawsuit. And the last time the Times reviewed it, critic Pete Wells awarded it just one star.
The Maccioni family might be moving the restaurant to 36 East 60th Street between Madison and Park Avenues. Construction is already underway for what will be the fourth location for the restaurant.