Famed chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller on Wednesday announced that one of his newest restaurants is closing permanently because of “irreparable damage” from the pandemic: TAK Room in New York City’s Hudson Yards complex.
His Thomas Keller Restaurant Group is also shuttering a location of Bouchon Bakery that was also in the sprawling 18 million-square foot Hudson Yards dining, shopping and entertainment district, which opened last year.
Keller is best known for his signature restaurants The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York City. The company operates one other Bouchon location in the city, though it hasn’t reopened since the pandemic shutdown in the spring. Other Bouchon locations in California and Las Vegas have reopened, however.
In a statement, Keller said, “These decisions were not made lightly. They came after painful deliberations amid a pandemic that has devastated the global economy and caused irreparable damage to our business and profession. Given the challenges of the last five months; we could not find an economically viable path to continue operating without expected seasonal, New York tourism and traffic.”
Keller thanked his teams for their dedication, talent and professionalism, and thanked guests for their unwavering support.
And he added, “Our profession continues to face long-term, daunting challenges and much work lies ahead. But we are resolute. While this news is devastating, we remain hopeful for the future, and committed to advocating for independent restaurants whose survival is so crucial to the wellbeing of communities everywhere. We will look forward to a time when we can rebuild.”
In an interview last year, Keller said TAK Room was inspired by a restaurant style from the period after World War II through the 1960s, when restaurants like The Stork Club, The Colony, The Brown Derby and Chasen’s were known for “continental cuisine,” but also a social and community hub.
He described it as a “casual restaurant where you could go more than once a week, you could see your friends, you could bring your family, you could entertain, you could listen to great music and have a lot of fun with the service staff there to also engage,” he said at the time.
Keller, who was inducted in the MenuMasters Hall of Fame earlier this year, is among a growing number of widely regarded chef-owners who sued their insurance companies over denial of claims during the coronavirus crisis. Those lawsuits are ongoing.
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