Joaquin (Quino) Baca’s recently opened izakaya-style Bushwick restaurant Teo has suddenly closed, less than five months after it opened.
Teo opened in late December right after Christmas in a petite 38-seat space at 321 Starr St., near Cypress Avenue. It marked the chef’s pivot back to Asian-inspired dishes like yaki onigiri and katsu-style fried chicken — the food Baca fell in love making as a Momofuku chef, working alongside David Chang at spots like Noodle Bar.
The restaurant announced it would close this week on Instagram and on its website, though it didn’t state the reason behind the closure. Eater has reached out to Baca for more information.
The message on its website reads:
It is with much regret that Teo will be closing it’s doors. Thank you to the welcoming community in Bushwick, fellow businesses that supported us on this journey, and every guest that has come and shared in this experience with us. From our hearts to yours.
The restaurant opened with a long list of small plates and yaki skewers ranging from pork belly with pineapple to rabbit tsukune, or meatballs, plus a few ramen dishes. In December, Baca told Eater he wanted the restaurant to be a “very social setting” that’s 80 percent about the food and 20 percent about the booze — beers, cocktails, sake, and wine were on offer.
It’s the second recent closure for the chef. Increased operating costs and slower summers pushed him to close Williamsburg favorite Brooklyn Star in May 2018 after a nine-year run. Before opening his own restaurant, Baca spent years helping expand the Momofuku empire as part of the teams at critically acclaimed restaurants Ssäm, Noodle Bar, and Ko.
Update: Baca says in an email that he found out before service on Friday about the closure from his investors, who told him that the concept was “too ‘ambitious’ for Bushwick.” He does not yet know what he plans to do next. “I’m really perplexed,” he says of their decision. “Feels like my best work.”