Seminal Williamsburg restaurant Roebling Tea Room is closing its doors this month after 12 years in the neighborhood, the restaurant announced with a sign.
Former riot-grrrl rock star Syd Silver opened the New American restaurant at 143 Roebling Street in 2005 in an old factory building — making it among the first wave of Williamsburg restaurants to turn a loft space into a hip business with an industrial look and ambitious fare. It has become the dominant aesthetic of trendy Williamsburg.
Chef Dennis Spina manned the kitchen for years, and actor Bill Murray’s son Homer, who now owns 21 Greenpoint with Silver, was involved at the restaurant, too. Over the years, Roebling Tea Room remained a neighborhood favorite — a comfortable local daytime hang with couches and a standby for brunch.
Silver tells Eater that she’s known for several years that Roebling Tea Room would likely close. The building sold in 2014 for $32.3 million dollars to RedSky Capital, the same developer that owns the property that now houses the Williamsburg Apple Store. Roebling only had a ten-year lease that ended in 2015, and for the last few years, she’s operated on a handshake agreement with RedSky, who she says “has been very good to us.”
Part of the reason she pursued 21 Greenpoint was because she knew Roebling Tea Room’s days were numbered. She has other projects lined up, too, but she has no plans to reopen Roebling anywhere else. “This restaurant really was about this corner and about this neighborhood,” Silver says. “This was a special place that I can’t really imagine anywhere but here.”
The closing sign, first spotted by Brooklyn Based, notes that the restaurant will close after Memorial Day. It has been awhile since Williamsburg has been a scrappy, affordable neighborhood for creative types, but the closing of Roebling Tea Room certainly drills it in.
“We sort of always knew we wouldn’t be able to stay here forever,” Silver says. “I feel good. We had a really amazing run.”