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Former Momofuku Chef’s West Village Izakaya Būmu Closes Just Four Months After Opening

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Jaoquin Baca’s restaurant will serve its last skewers this Sunday

An aerial view of a spread of small plates topped with Asian-inspired fare over a wooden table
Būmu will serve its last dinner on Sunday, February 23
Andrew Bui/Būmu[Official]

Būmu will be serving its last dinner service this Sunday just four months after opening its doors. The West Village izakaya was the latest from Joaquin “Quino” Baca, a chef who spent the early part of his career in the kitchens of Momofuku restaurants Ssäm, Noodle Bar, and Ko but who has had difficulty sustaining his solo restaurants in recent years.

The closure comes on the heels of two additions for Būmu, including a new late-night menu that debuted in January and an expanded brunch service, which launched less than two weeks ago. “Despite our best efforts, we haven’t been able to overcome the challenges posed by the competitive Manhattan landscape in order to sustain the business,” Baca wrote in an email to Eater.

It’s been a rocky run for Baca since his work at the Brooklyn Star, the Southern-focused Williamsburg restaurant that closed in May 2018 after a nine-year run. Three months after the closing of that restaurant, Baca opened a small 38-seat restaurant called Teo in Bushwick. Less than five months later, however, Teo had shuttered. Baca shared that his investors had abruptly pulled out of the project, saying they thought the restaurant was “too ambitious” of a project for Bushwick. Aside from growing competition in the West Village dining scene, Baca declined to cite further reasons for Būmu’s closure at this time.

Būmu opened in October at 61 West Eighth Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where much-beloved omakase Neta once stood. The Japanese-inspired small plates restaurant served inventive skewers, including chicken skins doused in Frank’s Red Hot and rabbit tsukune over quail yolk; decadent meat plates like crispy lamb ribs with sticky fish sauce; and a scorching sambal sauce. Būmu’s last day of dinner service will be on Sunday, February 23.

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