Beleaguered, sceney outdoor restaurant Gitano — which recently closed its palm tree-packed outdoor space in Soho for the season — is making an imminent comeback, this time bringing its tropical jungle vibes to the nearby James New York hotel.
The bohemian restaurant that arrived in NYC this summer closed its outdoor space at 76 Varick St. for the season in October and was only expected to reopen next year. But despite setbacks like bad reviews and two health department shutdowns, Gitano is now setting up shop inside the Soho hotel at 27 Grand St. It is expected to open “in the near future,” restaurant owner James Gardner tells Eater.
Gardner says he’s bringing Gitano’s “Jungle Room” to the hotel, which looks like an indoor lounge, bar, and event space on its website. In Tulum, the room is accented with 19-foot-high ceilings, lots of plants, and brass chandeliers. Gardner says he’s looking forward to “surprising and delighting” diners with this “new endeavor.”
It’s not yet clear exactly where Gitano will be located inside the hotel, but the space that once held David Burke Kitchen is now available. The American restaurant recently closed after an eight-year run.
The hip venue made its way from Mexico to NYC earlier this year, and while its popularity followed it from Tulum to Soho — lines wrapped around the block days after it opened — Gitano had some trouble keeping clean.
Less than a month after opening the restaurant was temporarily shut down by New York’s health department for things like insufficient refrigeration and improper sewage disposal. Then in August, it was shut down again. Reasons included sewage-related flies, ongoing refrigeration issues, and not protecting food from potential contamination.
When Eater critic Robert Sietsema checked the place out, he found mediocre Mexican fare and that service remained rough. The restaurant’s charred avocado also landed on his list of worst dishes of the year; it tasted like burnt fruit, he writes.
Regardless, the giant space routinely drew in a photo-hungry Instagram crowd, and celebs have been spotted at parties there.
It originally opened with 400 seats and bar area; an urban farm, a clothing boutique, a meditation area, and a coffee bar. Joseph Sitt, chairman of Thor Equities, which owns the hotel, says he loves visiting Gitano in Tulum and wanted to bring that to NYC.