ZZ’s Clam Bar made waves when Major Food Group opened it in New York in 2013. A year later it landed a Michelin nod, and for years following, ZZ’s maintained the star until it lost it in 2022. Now, all evidence of the Greenwich Village seafood restaurant at 169 Thompson Street, near West Houston Street, has been scrubbed from the business’s pages.
ZZ’s Clam Bar on Thompson Street has closed. It has been replaced with extended private dining for Carbone, the team’s famous, tough-to-get-in Italian American red sauce restaurant, Major Food Group confirms. (Carbone is located just steps away from ZZ’s Clam Bar.) It was not clear how long ago the restaurant closed on Thompson Street. Eater has reached out to a spokesperson for Major Food Group for more information.
Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick opened the tiny, 12-seat ZZ’s Clam Bar with items like prawn ceviche, cured sardines with oranges, and tuna carpaccio with foie gras and bone marrow, plus caviar and oysters by the half shell. According to an Eater report in 2013, the team had originally wanted the space to function as a sandwich shop called the Lobster Club (the team later opened the Lobster Club as a Midtown full-service restaurant).
In a review from GQ in its opening year, the publication wrote that ZZ’s Clam Bar was “ornate, extravagant, shocking, over-the-top.” Even back then, prices were luxe. Drinks, according to the review, were $20 — still higher than most restaurants nearly a decade later. “The food at ZZ’s is extravagant. It’s also secondary. ZZ’s is a state of mind, an affirmation of privilege...”
As legend has it, Adam Platt, New York Magazine’s, longtime former food critic, was kicked out of ZZ’s Clam Bar during a 2013 visit, which he speculated was related to his one-star review of Carbone, according to a past Eater report.
In the years since its opening, the ZZ’s name (a reference to Zalaznick) has been exported to several Major Food Group concepts, including in Miami. The most recent of which, is the team’s new members-only restaurant, ZZ’s Club, in Hudson Yards, which also includes a Carbone private dining spot.
“A decade after ZZ’s Clam Bar opened down the block from Carbone serving exceptional cocktails and seafood, the New York location has moved from a 500 square foot operation to a luxurious 25,000 square space; expanded its menu; and officially become ZZ’s Members Club,” Major Food Group shared in a statement to Eater. “At 169 Thompson, we are now pleased to meet the overwhelming demand for private dining at the original Carbone in a space that’s uniquely suited to the Carbone experience.”
Update: December 13, 2023 12:18 p.m.: This article was updated to include comments from Major Food Group.