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Last chance for smoked kangaroo: Brad Farmerie’s Public closes this week

New York City loses another influential restaurant when Nolita's Public closes, taking its quirky Australian fare to the outback in the sky.
Public will close after 14 years of service on June 3. Photo: Facebook
Public will close after 14 years of service on June 3. Photo: Facebook

New York is losing one of the OGs that kicked the food scene into unexplored territory when Brad Farmerie’s Public closes this week.

After 14 years, the Nolita restaurant will serve its last plate of smoked kangaroo carpaccio and many other favorites since its opening back in 2003 at the final dinner on Friday, June 2, and it all ends with brunch on June 3. Reservations can be made through OpenTable or by calling 212-343-7011.

The reason for its ending is an all too common story recently: The building it’s housed in is being redeveloped.

"210 Elizabeth St. is the heart of Public,” Farmerie tells Metro. “While the food, beverage and even design could, in theory, be transferred to a different location, the soul of Public would be lost, and we would rather say farewell in its original form than try to recreate that unique, intangible quality that Public gave to its guests in another venue.”

Besides the fact that NYC is losing another restaurant that looms large in its culinary history, the upsetting thing about Public is that it didn’t coast on its reputation. What started somewhat haphazardly, with Farmerie giving unusual cuts of meat the Down Under treatment, became a hit. And even as it scored fans with tripe and offal, the restaurant also low-key catered to the vegetarian and gluten-free set before they became mandatory options on menus across the city, earning a Michelin star in 2009. 

Its James Beard Award-winning interior decor also launched AvroKO Hospitality Group, which would go on to define the artsy warehouse aesthetic at Gotham West Market and the garage-meets-art gallery feel of basement bar Genuine Liquorette. And then there are the alumni, among them Matt Hyland of Brooklyn's pizza darling Emily and Matt Lambert, who now heads up The Musket Room. 

To sum up, a lot of good stuff came out of Public. And Farmerie’s cooking lives on at the ode to grilling that is Saxon + Parole (where he’s merged the worlds of meat and vegetables in the Impossible Burger), as well as a few flourishes on the menu at the throwback burger joint Genuine Roadside.

“We're so happy to go out the same way we came in — with a restaurant full of amazing guests, staff, friends and family who have all helped us achieve so many incredible accolades and notoriety over the years including a Michelin star for nine years running,” he says. “This week, we're celebrating those 14 years of memories.”