One of New York City’s only Cambodian restaurants — Angkor Cambodian Bistro at 408 East 64th Street, near First Avenue — will permanently close on August 1, owners Minh and Mandy Truong announced in a Facebook post on Friday.
“This restaurant and our guests have brought us so much joy over the past five years,” part of the post on Facebook reads. “But we must come to terms that the current crisis is not something we can weather.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant tells Eater that revenue was down “tremendously,” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that restaurant regulars had largely stopped showing up either because they are out of town or are cooking more at home.
Pre-pandemic, the restaurant’s revenue was also boosted by alcohol sales, international visitors, and staffers from the nearby Weill Cornell hospital on York Avenue. All of those sales had vanished after the start the pandemic, the spokesperson says. The uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic might end and when restaurants will regain any sense of normalcy prompted the owners to pull the plug.
The restaurant had remained open for takeout and delivery orders throughout the pandemic, and had recently opened its backyard where customers could sit at a handful of tables to eat pick up orders. Still, that wasn’t enough to keep the restaurant afloat.
Angkor now joins dozens of restaurants across the city that have been forced to shutter due to the massive financial fallout caused by the coronavirus virus. For chef and owner Minh Truong, the shuttering marks the end of a major chapter in his culinary endeavors in NYC.
Prior to opening Angkor at the end of 2015, Minh and Mandy ran Chelsea Thai staple, Royal Siam, for two decades. New York Times food critic Tejal Rao praised the food in her review of the restaurant the following year, and diners kept coming back for its Khmer curries, sliced duck salad, and frog legs, among other dishes.
Ahead of the closure on August 1, the Truongs are selling the paintings and artwork that adorned the restaurant. The restaurant will remain open for takeout by calling the restaurant at 212-758-2111, and delivery, until its closure. The Truongs have not entirely ruled out opening a new restaurant after the pandemic, a spokesperson for the restaurant says. The owners will update customers of any new plans on its Facebook page.