Guy Fieri’s famous-for-being-bad Times Square restaurant closed its doors for good on December 31, 2017. The celebrity chef and TV personality shuttered the doors of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar after five rocky years and is just one in a growing number of restaurants closures to hit the Big Apple in 2017.
The 15,000 square-foot restaurant, which opened in late 2012, had 500 seats, three bars, American flags, a rotisserie that could grill 20 turkeys, and a huge merchandise counter. Despite winning a People’s Choice award at the New York Wine and Food Festival in 2013, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar couldn’t quite shake the no-star review it received from The New York Times.
In his November 2012, restaurant critic Peter Wells noted, “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?”
It gets better.
“How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil?”
To hit just how bad he thought the restaurant was, Wells added, “When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?”
Despite the godawful review, the Times Square restaurant remained popular among with fans. But not popular enough apparently.
Fieri did not explain why he shuttered the restaurant but said he was “proud” of serving millions of people over the year and thanked his team.
The closure must have come as a surprise to the owners of the 220 West 44th Street eatery, Kushner Companies. The restaurant still had about 10 years left on its lease, which cost Fieri about $1.8 million a year in rent.
The restaurant may be closed but the web site is still up and running. The reservation link reminds you to “book today” but our calls went unanswered.
Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar was part of the Blue Stein Group, a New York group of restaurants that includes the Heartland Brewery chain.
New York City Restaurant Closures in 2017
New York may be the city that never sleeps but hundreds of its restaurants do. A huge number of famous and infamous New York City restaurants closed their doors for good in 2017. Why? You can blame the high cost of running the business (rent and labor costs) as the main reason.
Restaurants like Le Cirque and The Gander cited higher rents as the reason for their closure while other restaurants, like Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS) and Joe’s Crab Shack, blamed other economic reasons.
Other New York City restaurants shut down in 2017 include:
- TK Kitchen
- Hill Country
- A Voce
- Francisco’s Centro Vasco
- The Lucky Bee
- Jimmy’s No. 43
- Bottle & Bine
- Mi Nido Taverna
- Blue Ginger
- DBGB Kitchen and Bar
- Georgia’s Eastside BBQ
- Salvation Burger
- Sons and Daughters
- Sugar & Plumm
- Barrio 47
- Jacques 1534
- Happy Ending
- Zabb City
Thanks to industry-leading rents ($120.00 per square foot in NYC versus $52.00 in Los Angeles and $45.00 in San Francisco) and rising labor costs, it is widely expected that a huge number of New York City chain and independent restaurants will shut down for good in 2018.
“Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar to Close December 31 [Updated],” Eater, December 28, 2017.
“As Not Seen on TV,” The New York Times, November 13, 2012.
“Guy Fieri leaving Times Sq. space with 10 years left on lease: sources,” The Real Deal, December 28, 2017.
“Blue Stein Group,” Blue Stein Group, last accessed January 2, 2018.