Stanton Social — one of Tao Group’s early NYC restaurants that helped shape the prolific restaurant group’s over-the-top approach to food and drink — is shuttering at the end of the year. According to the Post, the restaurant will close after 15 years in Hell Square. The last day for the clubby late-night staple will be New Year’s Eve.
Chef-owner Chris Santos tells the Post that the shutter is the result of an ending lease. Stanton Social opened in 2005, and Santos became known for his kitschy fusion fare there, like French onion soup dumplings and a “Philly cheesesteak” truffle and goat cheese fondue. The drinks are similarly over-the-top, with popsicles thrown into champagne and an “orange creamsicle” shot topped with whipped cream. Santos, who serves as a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped, is also behind the menus at Tao’s Bowery restaurant Vandal and Beauty & Essex.
The restaurant, an early entry into the shared plates dining trend, attracted a celebrity clientele including Matt Damon and Sofia Vergara. Comedian Amy Schumer and her sister Kim Caramele also worked as bartenders at Stanton Social before Schumer’s acting and writing career took off.
But it might not be the end for this sceney LES restaurant. Santos and fellow Tao Group partners are searching for a bigger new location to open in, according to the Post. And in the meantime, the Post also notes that some of the better known dishes from Stanton Social — including those French onion soup dumplings — will be served at Santos’ other restaurants.
It’s the rare closure for Tao Group, known for being one of the most profitable nightlife and restaurant companies in the country. It also owns NYC restaurants like Lavo and Tao Downtown, and despite negative reviews for the food, businesses like Vandal remain perpetually packed. Last year, Madison Square Garden Company invested $181 million in Tao, and this year, they’ve continued to open new projects like a California-style cafe and an egg sandwich shop.
Eater NY has reached out to Tao Group for more information.