Danny Meyer’s pizzeria Martina will shutter at the end of March after an unsteady year and a half in the East Village.
The Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant opened in August 2017 as a fast-casual offshoot of its popular, full-service Nomad restaurant Marta. This location was built for volume, though, with the capacity to shuttle out dozens of pies per hour priced at a very affordable $7. Chef Nick Anderer told Eater in December he had wanted it to be “a great neighborhood pizzeria.”
But the restaurant’s reception wasn’t so hot, with Eater critic Ryan Sutton writing that the pizza, especially the margherita, “needs some work.” The Times’ Pete Wells did award it one star, saying “they can be very good,” but agreeing that “the simple margherita is a bore.”
Meyer and Anderer made the decision in December to pivot to a full-service restaurant. At the time, Anderer told Eater that guest feedback was “driving this change.”
“Everything we’ve done has really been a response to data we’ve accumulated from guests through a year’s worth of experience,” he said at the time.
Now, though, Meyer says in a statement that “despite numerous efforts to turn around Martina’s financial performance around ... we were not able to succeed at developing a large enough audience to sustain the business.”
It’s not often that Meyer closes a restaurant; in his more than 30 year career, Tabla was the only one to close for a long time. But in 2018, both his Chicago restaurant GreenRiver and his Battery Park City restaurant North End Grill closed, the latter following sexual misconduct allegations. Martina will follow on March 31.
“This is a stark reminder that in business, as in life, there are no sure things,” Meyer says.