Meat fans and longtime Eater readers will be sad to learn that Murray Hill pub the Cannibal closed on Wednesday after close to nine years. Owner Christian Pappanicholas tells a now-familiar story of a high rent combined with rising business costs that made the business unsustainable.
Pappanicholas tells Eater that rent had reached $33,000 a month, and that the landlord had taken away access to the backyard, which held up to 40 seats, a substantial portion of business.
“It’s a pretty common story like you’re reading about all over the city. Where we live, the rent expense is just astronomical and having an unfavorable landlord who continues to either not fix the building or put pressure to continue to raise rents and do things not favorable for business,” Pappanicholas says. “That becomes the decision where you say it doesn’t make sense to continue in this location.”
The Cannibal opened in 2010, eventually taking over Pappanicholas’ Resto. It quickly becoming a media darling and neighborhood favorite in an area riddled with restaurants catered to the post-college crowd. Instead of run-of-the-mill domestic beers with average bar snacks, the Cannibal served a ton of rare craft beer and high-quality meat dishes, a pioneering move at the time. It was an immediate critical hit and has held onto its reputation for being an experimental meat haven in the nine years since, innovating with such dishes as the iconic General Tso’s pig head and housemade blood sausage. During its tenure, it expanded to Los Angeles and Gotham Market West, but closed in both locations.
Pappanicholas says he’d love to bring the brand back, but he has no current plans to do so. He’ll be taking a break and helping out friends with their businesses before contemplating his next steps.