It seems that even New York City’s most popular restaurants aren’t safe from the whims of rising real estate costs. The New York Times reported that Union Square Café, Danny Meyer’s first restaurant that has occupied the same space for 30 years, has lost its lease and will be forced to close and relocate elsewhere at the end of next year. The East 16th Street restaurant space is set to hit the market this week.
We have reached out to Meyer’s representatives and are awaiting a response. Meyer, who owns and operates many restaurants, including Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern, has, despite his success and fortune, admitted in interviews that “no one is immune to real estate.”
The highly-decorated restaurant has gotten quite a bit of recognition, from being voted Zagat’s number one New York restaurant, to consistent two and three-star reviews from The New York Times and Forbes. Union Square Café is only the latest victim of changing neighborhoods and skyrocketing rents in New York. A few weeks ago, The Daily Meal reported that Wylie Dufresne would be closing wd~50, and last year, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill was also forced to close due to rising rents.
“Eventually, they’re going to drive away all the people and places that make New York City interesting,” Flay said in an interview with The New York Times.
UPDATE: We have heard from Union Square Hospitality Group. "Our position on this matter is all on record within the New York Times article," said representative Jee Won Park. "At this time, we do not envision changing the name or concept of Union Square Cafe."
For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi