Maison Premiere founders Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka and managing partner/bar director William Elliott were together on a video call when they all received the email—a final piece of the puzzle—that would enable them to reopen the lively, lovely Williamsburg staple for the first time since early 2020.
The permit notification sealed a collective “sigh of relief,” Elliott says.
“We did not think, like any business, that it would go on for a year and a half. Maison is open 364-and-a-half days out of the year. This is really the first time we’ve ever shut down.”
That includes, of course, holidays, standard operating issues, and acts of God. During Hurricane Sandy, for example, Maison Premiere was open by candlelight while its surrounding streets were flooding. They served a special menu of hurricane cocktails. And that half-day they were closed, was for a party.
The team had reopening dates in mind over the intervening months, but “covid just came on in waves,” Elliott says.
“We’ve been working heavily on the inevitable reopening. We always were planning on reopening.”
Some of that work included thinking back and forward to Maison’s place in the culinary landscape.
“There was a lot of reflection about what we value, what we like, that mentality of being open 365 days a year,” Elliott says. We thought about ways to be a more integral part of the community and make memories for people.”
On Thursday afternoon, Elliott was finally able to post about the imminent reopening on Instagram. People soon started coming by to applaud the bar in person, and well-wishes poured in on social media. One such message read, “I was so scared you were closed, you were a part of my history,” Elliott says.
“It’s humbling. It’s incredibly gratifying to see people cheering for us, rooting us on. It makes you want to not just get back in the game, but be at the top of the game. Now it’s off to the races.”
Although the last year was mostly lost, 2021 marks Maison Premiere’s ten-year anniversary. After a dramatic decade filled with customer goodwill and media accolades, Boissy, Zizka and Elliott may not have expected to return their original opening menu of just oysters, clams and shrimp for the occasion. But starting on Sunday, and until they rebuild the rest of the menu, that's just what they’ll serve, along with a retrospective cocktail menu.
“That’s literally how we opened ten years ago,” Elliott says.