Tom Colicchio will soon close Craftbar, his 15 year-old casual counterpart to upscale Craft. He tells Eater that his landlord “jacked up the rent 50 percent” to $60,000 a month. And while he’s been trying to negotiate the lease for a long time, he and his team have decided to move on. The last day for the restaurant at 900 Broadway, near 20th Street, will be April 30.
Colicchio says he’d eventually like to find another location for the restaurant because he wants to have a casual offering in his portfolio. Perhaps the restaurant could have a rebirth a la its neighbor that faced similar circumstances, Union Square Cafe.
“The writing has been on the wall for awhile,” Colicchio says, adding that he expects to see a lot more restaurants closing this year due to high rents across the city. He also predicts operators will increasingly resort to opening on second and third floors of buildings, something he’d consider if he found the right landlord with a nice lobby and functioning elevator. "We used to have a great 5,000 square-foot space on 19th Street that we used as offices that would have been perfect, but the elevator would go out once a week,” he said, noting how unpredictable New York City buildings can be.
Craftbar originally opened in 2002 and moved several years later to its current, larger location. The announcement comes less than six months after he closed Colicchio & Sons, the West Chelsea restaurant that he held onto for about a decade.
But on the bright side, the rest of the celebrity chef’s New York restaurants remain intact. He successfully renegotiated his Craft lease last year and says he has no worries about that restaurant, Riverpark, or the newly opened and recently reviewed Fowler and Wells.