Six of the country’s most high profile culinary figures have become the latest to begin shuttering their New York restaurants amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Jean-George Vongerichten’s namesake flagship, two of the city’s priciest culinary establishments, have temporarily closed. Chef and humanitarian José Andrés also closed his sprawling Mercado Little Spain food hall at Hudson Yards, pledging to turn the space into a takeout only venue.
Missy Robbins, one of New York’s top Italian chefs, closed both of her impossible-to-get-into Brooklyn spots Lilia and Misi. Tom Colicchio — who said last week that his businesses saw a 70 percent drop — has temporarily closed Craft, Temple Court, and Riverpark as an act of “collective, coordinated action.” The employees have been laid off.
“Our mission has always been ‘Make People Happy’ but we can no longer do that without jeopardizing the well being of our family of staff, our purveyors, and our guests,” Colicchio wrote on a note posted to the restaurants’ websites.
Bobby Flay, the nationally recognized chef and Food Network personality, announced on Instagram that he was closing his Noho restaurant Gato because of “the obvious and unprecedented circumstances threatening our world.”
Many of the city’s most high profile establishments have already shuttered as the city announced a mandatory 50 percent cuts to bar and restaurant capacity, a policy designed to cut down on the spread of disease. Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked during a press conference about a more stringent ban on dining out, said further decisions could come as soon as Sunday night.
A receptionist at Per Se confirmed the closure of at least two weeks, a fact that was reflected on the Columbus Circle restaurant’s reservations site. Keller’s TAK Room, an expensive chophouse at Hudson Yards, still shows availability throughout the week.
The Jean-Georges restaurant group announced via email its own closures, which span the bulk of the chef’s New York establishments, including ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina, ABCv, Nougatine, Perry Street, Mercer Kitchen, and the Fulton.
Andrés, whose World Central Kitchen charity helped feed residents of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, will reopen Mercado on Tuesday as a so-called “community kitchen,” a term he’s also using for the rebranding of his Washington D.C. venues.
“People need to take every precaution, including staying home as much as possible,” Andrés said in an emailed statement, adding that he wants to “help provide food for those who want it in a safe manner.” He also said that venue would welcome “those who cannot afford to pay.”
The release about Mercado said the takeout-only concept would operate out of the food hall’s side doors. Employees will receive paid leave and health care for “at least,” the first two weeks.
Emily and Matt Hyland’s popular Emmy pizza empire, which currently has six locations, will shutter as well. The group will still offer takeout and delivery.