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Owner of Michelin-Starred Crown Shy Is Opening a New Restaurant

James Kent’s Park Avenue South seafood restaurant is set to open by spring 2024

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James Kent standing in his restaurant.
James Kent is opening a seafood restaurant at 360 Park Avenue South, at East 26th Street next spring.
Kelt Tobunluepop

James Kent, the restaurateur known for the Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurants Crown Shy and Saga, as well as sibling rooftop bar Overstory, has a new fine dining restaurant in the works.

Kent and his team have signed a lease at 360 Park Avenue South, at East 26th Street, in Manhattan — a 7,000-square-foot space that was once home to Park Avenue Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer, a seasonal restaurant that relocated at the address in 2014 before closing in 2020. In 2021, real estate publication The Real Deal reported that BXP, formerly Boston Properties, paid $300 million for the building on Park Avenue South.

Kent hasn’t named his new restaurant, something that may need extra marinating on after Pete Wells wrote in his 2019 New York Times review of Crown Shy, that the “only false step is the name.” What’s known is that the menu will focus on seafood, a nod to a family houseboat Kent grew up staying on in the summers, according to Kent.

The former executive sous chef of Crown Shy (before leaving to work at Mena), Danny Garcia will join pastry chef of Crown Shy and Saga, Renata Ameni in the new kitchen. Kent is aiming to open by spring 2024.

The restaurant joins another big seafood opening in the neighborhood from Mercer Street Hospitality in the W Hotel, in what had been Olives from Todd English in Union Square, set to open mid-October 2023.

Kent’s new seafood spot is something of a homecoming for the chef, whose new restaurant is just around the corner from Eleven Madison Park, where he was once second in command in the kitchen, before going on to be the executive chef at the team’s Nomad (Kent first met Garcia as a cook at Nomad). “I felt really comfortable coming back to the area, and planting a flag here,” says Kent.

This is the first project Kent has opened solo under the umbrella of SAGA Hospitality, after decoupling from Jeff Katz last spring, about three years after they opened Crown Shy. Katz went on to open Mel’s, a wood-fired pizzeria, and Al Coro, a fine dining restaurant, with the chef Melissa Rodriguez.

Kent’s new restaurant is designed by architecture firm Modellus Novus, who in addition to designing all three restaurants under SAGA Hospitality, also worked on Al Coro and Mel’s, as well as Kwame Onwuachi’s Lincoln Center restaurant, Tatiana.