Gotham Bar and Grill, the storied fine dining spot that ended its 36-year run in March 2020, is now eyeing a September opening date for its planned comeback, and one of the restaurant’s veteran chefs may be stepping in to lead the kitchen.
After initially aiming for a spring opening, the restaurant’s listing on Google Maps has now been updated to reflect a planned September reopening date; Gotham’s website states that the business is “busy reimagining Gotham for its reopening this September.”
Bret Csencsitz, Gotham’s former general manager who is a partner in the new restaurant and is spearheading the revival, confirms to Eater that the team is aiming to open Gotham’s doors this fall. The restaurant is still in the process of securing a new liquor license, and the space will undergo some “primarily cosmetic” renovations in July, Csencsitz says.
It also appears that Ron Paprocki, Gotham’s former pastry chef of nearly a decade, may be gearing up to take over the kitchen. The restaurant’s updated website lists Paprocki as both the executive chef and the pastry chef. Csencsitz declined to comment on Paprocki’s role in Gotham’s comeback, and Paprocki did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Eater.
Paprocki’s potential takeover would mark one of only a few chef switch-ups in Gotham’s history. For over three decades, chef Alfred Portale led Gotham’s kitchen, rising to fame with towering seafood salads and inventive tuna tartare that, while once boundary-pushing, eventually became more recognized as greatest hits. In 2019, chef Victoria Blamey, an alum of West Village favorite Chumley’s, was brought in to shake things up and inject new energy into the restaurant with dishes like a more modern beef tartare and Japanese eggplant with a lapsang souchong broth.
New York Times critic Pete Wells rewarded the change in leadership with a three-star review, while Eater critic Ryan Sutton found some of the updated menu still stuck in the past. Blamey’s short tenure ended when the restaurant announced a permanent shutdown last March, just as restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms due to the pandemic.
Portale now runs an eponymous upscale Italian restaurant in Chelsea. Blamey has a chef residency at Fulgurances in Brooklyn through September.