In part infinity of the restaurant world’s Rent Is Too Damn High Saga, Danny Meyer announced last night that once its lease expires, the groundbreaking Union Square Cafe will close its doors at the end of next year.
In an interview with the New York Times, Meyer said that the restaurant, which he opened thirty years ago when Union Square was a scary drug pit, had been priced out of the very neighborhood it had helped to revitalize. (Seriously, the neighborhood is now choked with Chipotles, Sephoras, and a Whole Foods.) “There’s no such thing as a New York restaurant that is immune to real estate,” he told the Times. He also added that, since each of his restaurants operated as its own business, he couldn’t funnel his relatively infinite Shake Shack money into keeping Union Square Cafe open.
Meyer is the latest casualty of New York City rent shanking famous restaurants in the back: earlier this month, Wylie Dufresne announced that he would close wd~50 in November, and dozens of his peers fell before that (even Bobby Flay’s famous Mesa Grill couldn’t survive rent hikes).
And while Meyer’s landlord is sad to see Union Square Cafe go, he still hopes that he can lease the space out to Meyer: ““A Shake Shack could do very well in that space.”
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