After 24 years of delighting baseball fans, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant on Central Park South is closing.
The owner of the once iconic restaurant announced today that they will shutter the space after being open since 1988.
“It’s a very sad and difficult decision,” owner Christopher Villano said. “Having ‘Mickey Mantle’ on the awning was an honor we took very seriously. Mantle was one of the great names in New York’s rich sports history."
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The restaurant was named after the famous Yankees center fielder, and, before he died in 1995, Mantle was often spotted inside, where he would eat, drink and provide free autographs for customers.
"We went there for my brother's elementary school graduation," recalled Brooklynite Greg Hanlon, 31, who grew up in the city. "He wasn't there, but my grandmother went back weeks later and waited outside for Mickey Mantle just so she could get autographs for us."
"The restaurant was a connection to a very special, mythical era when New York was the capital of baseball," he said.
The eatery was next to the St. Mortiz Hotel, now the Ritz-Carlton, where Mantle lived while he was in New York City.
The restaurant was decorated with sports memorabilia and a mural of old Yankee stadium.
Fans had rallied to raise $1 million to save the restaurant earlier this year, but it wasn't enough to keep it going.
Villano said increasing food prices and shifting city regulations, along with landlord issues, created "a situation that is no longer manageable."