UPDATE 7/27/20: The Good Fork has permanently closed after initially shutting down for the summer.
Red Hook mainstay the Good Fork — the eclectic American restaurant that launched chef Sohui Kim into NYC’s culinary conversation — is set to close later this week after a 14-year run in the neighborhood. For now, Kim and her husband Ben Schneider, who co-owns the restaurant with her, plan to close the space for the summer. But it’s likely the restaurant won’t open again, at least not as the Good Fork anyway.
“It is a difficult decision a lot of small restaurant owners are going to have to make,” says Kim. “Especially small restaurants that are looking at the reality of opening at half capacity.”
The couple is instead choosing to focus their efforts on the historic Gage & Tollner restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn, which they revamped and opened just before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That restaurant has been closed since the March shutdown on dining in, and the couple hasn’t settled on a reopening date just yet. Kim is also focussed on her Gowanus Korean restaurant, Insa, which is currently open for delivery and takeout.
“It was tough to balance everything even before COVID,” says Kim. “I felt bad that we couldn’t be here all the time.”
After leaving a career in architectural publishing, Kim decided to move into the world of restaurants in the early 2000s. Prior to opening the Good Fork in March 2006, Kim worked with acclaimed chef Anito Lo at her restaurant Annisa in the West Village. The Good Fork was a hit following its opening and has a become neighborhood favorite in large part due to cozy vibe and its eclectic menu comprised of dishes like scallion pancakes served with English peas and mint, and the ramen bolognese.
Kim previously faced a major obstacle in the form of Hurricane Sandy, which wrecked the restaurant in 2012. Kim and Schneider were able to rebuild due to a strong fundraising effort by neighbors at the time, but Kim says this time is different.
“The community told us no we couldn’t close, and we listened,” Kim says. “But this time around, I know our community is behind us, no matter what we decide.”
The Good Fork is open for takeout Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The final Sunday brunch takeout will go from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.