The iconic Chelsea restaurant the Red Cat will close at the end of December after nearly two decades in the neighborhood, the New York Times reports. Owner and chef Jimmy Bradley tells the Times he’s “ready for a change.”
Bradley opened the Red Cat with restaurateur Danny Abrams in 1999, a decade before the High Line arrived to shape the area. The restaurant, in fact, helped pioneer Chelsea as a solid dining neighborhood. People were drawn to its understated charm. In his 2005 review for the Times, Frank Bruni called it a “place with sophisticated food but not a whiff of arrogance about it.” The restaurant, which serves American food including an iconic pan-seared calves’ liver dish, sports an intentionally eclectic design, with Moroccan lanterns, framed paintings and photographs, and reclaimed barn wood decorating the space.
In 2014, Bradley shuttered his Tribeca restaurant The Harrison after a rent hike. Bradley and Abrams, who is no longer an owner at Red Cat, also opened Mermaid Inn together, although Bradley is not involved there anymore. Alongside chefs Jonathan Waxman and Joey Campanaro and food-service executive Jason Giagrande, Bradley owns Four J Foods, a supplier that makes soups, coffees, and other food items.
With the Red Cat, he’s closing on his own terms, telling the Times that he’s not quite sure of his next chapter but knows he loves to be in the kitchen. In fact, he tells the Times that he won’t rule out the possibility of opening another Red Cat somewhere so long as he gets to be in the kitchen, noting: “It’s the most fun job I ever had.”