2018 Review: The NYC restaurants and venues we'll miss most
A diner made famous by Sex and the City, Brooklyn's best dance club, a 116-year-old bakery and other beloved NYC places that 2018 killed.
Making it in New York City requires an incredible amount of hard work, goodwill and support. And even then, it’s often not enough to keep businesses, especially restaurants and indie music venues, from closing.
Rising rents are the biggest problem, or sometimes it’s burnout, and others just fall victim to the churn that comes with the city that never sleeps always looking for the next new thing. Here are the hardest goodbyes and otherwise notable closings in New York City of 2018.
Guy Fieri’s shrine to Donkey Sauce was the first loss of 2018, closing on New Year’s Day. It may not have been beloved locally, but the restaurant a popular Times Square destination, taking in an estimated $17 million a year. Not enough in the cutthroat world of NYC dining, apparently.
The West Village used to be a bohemian hub for musicians and actors, many of whom took a turn on the Caffe Vivaldi stage from Bette Midler to Oscar Isaac. But after 35 years, their notorious landlord tripled the rent and the venue was forced to close in June.
Best known for its spectacular black and white cookies among other classic baked goods, this Upper East Side institution closed in July after 116 years. After three generations of round-the-clock days to keep the bakery going, the Glaser family decided to hang up their aprons.
Keith McNally is the master of the bistro, that casually elegant atmosphere with favorites done with the right combination of tradition and innovation that keeps you coming back. Alas, his acclaimed Parisian bistro Cherche Midi only lasted four years on the Bowery before an expiring lease claimed its beloved pommes souffles in June.
Neighborhood restaurants are a dying breed in the age of delivery, but Great Jones Cafe remained beloved since opening in 1983. Taken over by a regular customer, Jim Moffett, it served Cajun food and cocktails to a happy local crowd, but the pressure of carrying it on was too much for anyone else to take on after Moffett’s death, and it closed in July.
Japanese dining is on another level, as much about the theater of it as what’s on your plate. Sushi Roxx brought a piece of that to Midtown, with singing and dancing waiters choreographed by Asia Nitollano of the Pussycat Dolls. Alas, financial mismanagement forced the restaurant to close in July.
One of Philadelphia’s most successful chefs Michael Solomonov opened his only New York restaurant in Chelsea Market in 2016, part of a wave of Israeli restaurants. Dizengoff was a cool hummus counter serving everything from shakshuka to coffee-braised brisket. But it closed in August — perhaps because another similar restaurant Miznon came in? We just hope this doesn’t mean New York will never get an outpost of Solomonov’s revered Federal Donuts.
Andy Ricker touched off a Thai food craze when he opened Pok Pok on the Columbia Street Waterfront in 2012, a move that continues to bring authentic restaurants out of Flushing and into the broader city. But rising costs, labor issues and lack of foot traffic in the neighborhood forced him to close in September.
Sex and the City made tourist attractions of several New York restaurants, including this 28-year-old retro diner just off Union Square Park. Known for its particularly attractive waitstaff — the restaurant was a hub for aspiring models — business was still good, but rising labor costs and rent led to its closing in October.
A huge loss to media nerds across the city, Videology hosted popular movie drinking games, TV bingo nights, and a bar always turning out inventive themed cocktails. But the owners decided to close down in October, telling Gothamist, “It just feels like it's the right time to pursue other opportunities."
Williamsburg was long gentrified by 2013, but Output opened that year in defiant rejection of the trend of fancy nightclubs where what you were wearing was more important than dancing to the DJs. A haven for techno and electronic music and beloved for its rooftop parties, the owners cite “rapidly shifting social trends, unfavorable market conditions and weakening financial outlooks” for making this New Year’s Eve the last party.