Things come and go; it’s one of the oldest maxims in the book. Time marches on, and with it goes things and places that we quite possibly took for granted, because we thought they’d be around forever. And sadly, restaurants are definitely not immune from this, sometimes even great ones. These 10 restaurants left us in 2017, and [cue the sad music] now they only live on in our hearts.
David Bouley’s eponymous restaurant managed to stay open, and relevant, for 30 years before closing in July, which is really saying a lot in the New York dining world. It managed to stay on top of the major dining trends (and blaze some new trails itself), while fostering the careers of famed chefs including Eric Ripert, Dan Barber, Anita Lo, and Christina Tosi. Three month after closing, Bouley opened his newest endeavor, an “immersive fine dining and educational experience” called Bouley at Home.
DBGB Kitchen and Bar/Yelp
Chef Daniel Boulud rarely closes restaurants, so the closure of his stylish Bowery charmer DBGB after eight years in business came as a surprise. Sleeker and trendier than his other restaurants, it had a lively bar area and a menu that showcased some spectacular homemade sausages. The closure allows his restaurant group to focus more attention on its next endeavor: an ambitious restaurant coming to under-construction skyscraper One Vanderbilt.
After 68 years of serving some of Chicago’s finest Italian beef sandwiches, Joe Boston’s closed for good in June. Located on a sleepy corner in Chicago’s West Side, it never reached the level of renown of places like Al’s, but plenty of locals felt that it served the city’s best beef. “We’re actually just sort of tired and so we’re just ready to say goodbye,” owner Ellinor Kutrubis (Joe Boston’s daughter) told NBC. “We’ve enjoyed it and we’ve met so many wonderful people, but it’s time to just close the doors.”
Pok Pok is one of America’s best Thai restaurants, and it’s brought heaps of praise (and a James Beard Award) upon its creator, chef Andy Ricker. Its original Portland location and an offshoot in Brooklyn are still going strong, but a location in LA’s Chinatown couldn’t even hold out for two years. The restaurant couldn’t turn a profit for myriad reasons, including poor location and competition.
At his small Noble Square restaurant Ruxbin, chef Edward Kim spent seven years preparing dishes that fused Korean, American, and French sensibilities to great acclaim, including being named Bon Appétit’s best New Restaurant in 2011. But due to economic factors like a rising minimum wage and health insurance costs, Kim closed the restaurant in September. Mott St., his other restaurant, remains open.
Located in New York’s Lower East Side, the sceney and casual Schiller’s was never a great restaurant, but it was a perfect restaurant for its place and time — namely, the heady mid-aughts. It was a quintessential neighborhood spot, a beautiful dining room from famed restaurateur Keith McNally. When it closed in August after 14 years in business, it took a little bit of the neighborhood’s soul with it.
The wildest ride of perhaps any American restaurant this year happened to The Shaw Bijou, which was opened by one of the country’s most promising chefs, a 25-year-old top performer on Top Chef named Kwame Onwuachi, in late 2016. The fine-dining restaurant opened in D.C. with about as much buzz as possible, with a 15-course menu costing upwards of $500 per person and drawing heavily from Onwauchi’s Nigerian and Creole background. Early reviews weren’t very promising for such an astronomical price tag, so the following month they cut the price to $95 for seven courses and transformed an upstairs lounge into an à la carte bar. But it was too little, too late, and the restaurant closed in January after less than three months in business.
After a 62 year run, the last Trader Vic’s in Los Angeles closed its doors inside the Beverly Hilton in February. Trader Vic’s was the pinnacle of the tiki trend of the mid-1900s, and this location was once a swanky hotspot (one of 25 nationwide), but a 2007 remodel did away with most of its tiki charm, and it was all downhill from there. Believe it or not, there are only two remaining Trader Vic’s in America, in Atlanta and Emeryville, California.
Tru was one of the jewels in the crown of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, having opened in 1999 and long holding two Michelin stars; it was also long the domain of famed chef Rick Tramonto. But in September, the group announced that they pricey restaurant’s last day of service would be October 7, and that they’re “working on the plan to re-concept the space.” No word yet on what’s coming in.