The Trump Soho location of celebrity hotspot and pan-Asian clubstaurant Koi is closing its doors after business declined post-election. Grub Street reports that the LA-based chain plans to keep the Bryant Park location open but is shutting down the outpost in the Trump Hotel in Soho because they’re no longer making money on it. Regulars — including celebrities like the Kardashians — simply stopped going when Donald Trump was elected president, staff say.
Business at Trump’s hotels has become political ever since he started running for president and spouted a range of inflammatory and offensive statements. In blue Chicago, the former chef at Michelin-starred Trump Tower restaurant Sixteen implied that business suffered due to politics, too, while other high profile chefs like Jose Andres have stepped out of Trump hotels entirely.
At Koi, the sprawling 140-seat restaurant now rarely exceeds 50 or 60 percent capacity, a host and busser tells Grub Street. A server says that after the election, he was forced to find a second job due to the decline in business.
The scene-y Soho location opened in 2012, serving sushi to the stars. The restaurant inevitably was thrown into the fray of politics once Trump entered the presidential election. After the then-candidate called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” Koi Soho employee Richard Aca posted a video saying that he was offended by the commentary. He said at the time that “it doesn’t make me proud every day to go to work under his name,” though he stayed at the company until this past February.
Trump Soho and Koi were also named in a lawsuit last year for withholding tips in catering jobs.
The last day for the restaurant is June 18, but employees have been leaving for months because of the decline in business, staffers say. It will serve a limited menu until then.