Add this to the list of 2022 culinary upsets: Eater reports that renowned Soho eatery Mercer Kitchen, helmed by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is officially closing at the end of this year.
The destination has been servicing the celebrity-adjacent crowd from inside the Mercer Hotel for 25 years now, even claiming to be "one of the first restaurants in New York City to have a communal table, which remains popular to this day."
Although we're not entirely sure about that specific accolade, one thing is for certain: Mercer Kitchen has been shaping New York's gastronomic scene since first debuting back in 1998, in part thanks to Vongerichten's clearly on-the-nose vision. The guru also runs an Upper East Side restaurant inside of the Mark Hotel (The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges) and his flagship Jean-Georges destination right by Central Park. The latter boasts two Michelin stars.
Those who can't fathom a New York remiss of Mercer Kitchen's wood-fired pizza, tuna spring rolls and delicious chocolate cake will find solace in Vongerichten's latest project at the Fulton Fish Market in the South Street Seaport: the 55,000-square-foot Tin Building, which will open by the end of the month and feature an entire food market, a dozen restaurants and three separate bars. Clearly, the chef is staying busy.
Although Vongerichten has not gone on the record discussing the reasons behind the pretty surprising shuttering of Mercer Kitchen, he did say to Eater: "It's been 25 years, a great run."
The news becomes particularly sad when analyzed through the prism of the city's current dining scene. Although new openings certainly excite palates, a slew of iconic eateries and bars have permanently closed in recent months, including the Central Park Loeb Boathouse, Mission Chinese, Papaya King, Sidecar in Brooklyn and Angel's Share. Even popular soup and sandwich chain Hale & Hearty suddenly shut down operations.