The Fat Radish — Lower East Side’s once-sceney, vegetable-focused restaurant that later became a neighborhood staple — is closing for good after a decade. Co-owners Phil Winser and Natalie Freihon tell Eater that they made the decision as a result of the COVID-19-related shutdown.
The owners say they don’t have enough room to do outdoor dining at the restaurant, and with the uncertainty on when indoor dining will return in New York City — and when it will be safe to do so — Winser and Freihon decided it didn’t make sense to keep going on.
“The pandemic allowed us a lot of time for self-reflection,” says Freihon. “It was a tough decision to make, but a positive one for the future.”
“It was a home away from home for so many people,” adds Winser.
Winser and Freihon are giving a send-off to the Fat Radish at their Chelsea establishment, the Orchard Townhouse, which opened just a few months before the pandemic. There, the duo has 60 outdoor seats in an enclosed garden along with additional seating on the sidewalk, and on the street, on weekends in accordance with the city’s outdoor dining program.
Starting this week, the Orchard Townhouse will serve up Fat Radish classics like the kale caesar salad, fried oysters with cucumber and buttermilk dressing, seared tuna and watermelon with gochujang, and other items that will served alongside the regular Orchard Townhouse menu.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye, but this really allows us to have a moment of celebration,” says Winser. “The Fat Radish was such a big part of New York City, and we feel very lucky that we get to continue it for a little bit.” The pop-up at the Orchard Townhouse is slated to run through the end of October, which will officially mark the ten-year anniversary for the restaurant.
The rustic-looking Fat Radish debuted in 2010, and quickly became a popular spot for youngsters and established a reputation for its seasonal British fare. The New Yorker’s Amelia Lester praised the food, as did the New York Times’ Sam Sifton, who awarded the restaurant one star and said the food is “mostly very good,” there.
Now, the Fat Radish joins scores of NYC restaurants that have been forced to shutter as a result of the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis.