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Daniel Boulud’s Elegant Upper East Side French Cafe Permanently Shuts Down

Café Boulud’s 20-year run at the Surrey hotel has ended as a new outpost of Miami Beach Italian restaurant Casa Tua takes its place

Café Boulud
Café Boulud on the Upper East Side
Cafe Boulud [Official]
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Chef Daniel Boulud’s longrunning Café Boulud on the Upper East Side has permanently shut down, following months of uncertainty about the establishment’s future. The Times reports that the beloved restaurant — which has remained temporarily closed since the start of the pandemic — is vacating the Surrey hotel, where it has been housed for 20 years, to make way for flashy Miami Beach import Casa Tua.

The hotel recently came under new ownership after the Surrey’s former management company, Denihan Hospitality Group, declared bankruptcy and lost control of the space. Boulud tells the Times that the Surrey’s new ownership, the billionaire Reuben brothers, “wanted to take the restaurant in a direction that didn’t suit me.” He hopes to relocate the restaurant with their help. Eater New York has reached out to Boulud for more information.

Meanwhile, Café Boulud’s temporary residency at the Blantyre hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, has turned permanent. Executive chef Ethan Koelbel is leading the kitchen at the Massachusetts outpost, according to the Times.

Modern Italian restaurant Casa Tua, known as a swanky celebrity magnet in Miami, is slated to open on the Upper East Side in early 2023.

Prior to the pandemic, Boulud has operated restaurants at the hotel for nearly 30 years. The Surrey housed the original location of the chef’s two-Michelin-starred establishment Daniel for seven years before Café Boulud launched in the same space in 1998. In an early review, former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni named the cafe — modeled after a former Boulud family restaurant near Lyon, France — a favorite among Boulud’s growing empire. The restaurant has acted as a launching pad for many now-national names in the industry, including Minneapolis restaurateur Gavin Kaysen, and chef Aaron Bludorn, who starred in Netflix cooking competition the Final Table and went on to launch his own restaurant in Texas that Eater Houston called one of the city’s “most compelling” openings of 2020.

Daniel remains open on the Upper East Side, as does Boulud’s other restaurants including Bar Boulud and Épicerie Boulud, located at Lincoln Center and inside the Oculus at the World Trade Center, respectively. The chef will also be opening Le Pavillon, a new, 11,000-square-foot seafood restaurant within Midtown skyscraper One Vanderbilt, later this month.