Well, this is sad but not entirely surprising: Tabla is closing.
According to a release from the Union Square Hospitality Group, the 12-year-old Indian restaurant will close on Dec. 30. Why? Apparently, despite warm reviews and a refined, inventive menu from Floyd Cardoz, the place just wasn’t making enough money. At the beginning of 2010, the bi-level restaurant merged its more upscale upstairs menu with that of the more affordable Bread Bar, located on its first floor, and incorporated more sharable small plates. The move appeared to be a nod to diners’ more limited budgets, and also, one could surmise, the difficulties of turning a profit in the cavernous space. And USHG’s release bears this out, noting that Tabla’s “sheer size with 283 seats often made it a financially challenging business.”
The good news here is that Cardoz will work with USHG to develop a new restaurant, and the company “is open” to finding a new space for Tabla, whose original location it may turn into another restaurant. In the meantime, you’ve got three months to pay your condolences at its current incarnation. The release follows below:
A PIONEER OF NEW INDIAN CUISINE, TABLA TO CLOSE ITS DOORS ON DECEMBER 30, 2010
September 30, New York, NY — After 12 years of cooking and serving its acclaimed New Indian cuisine, Tabla, located at 11 Madison Avenue at 25th Street and overlooking Madison Square Park, will be closing its doors on December 30, 2010. A pioneering restaurant featuring the “New Indian Cuisine” of Executive Chef-Partner Floyd Cardoz, Tabla quickly became one of the city’s most popular and critically acclaimed dining destinations.
Tabla has always been highly celebrated for its innovative cuisine, gracious hospitality, and stunning setting, but in its 12-year run, its sheer size with 283 seats often made it a financially challenging business – especially for a restaurant whose cuisine is so specifically focused. Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) has stated that it is open to finding another space whose scale is more suited to Tabla. Additionally, the organization is weighing whether to conceive another business for the existing Madison Square Park location or to assign the lease and space to another restaurant.
Floyd Cardoz, who over the years was nominated for four James Beard Foundation Awards for Best New Chef NYC, will continue to work with USHG to develop a new restaurant beyond the realm of Indian spices. Kevin Richer, Tabla’s General Manager, will serve as the new GM at USHG’s forthcoming cafe at The Whitney, set to open in spring 2011. Over the next few months, the company will be focused on helping Tabla employees find productive new jobs, both within USHG, as well as throughout the industry.
“I am profoundly grateful to Floyd and the entire Tabla team – both our current employees and alumni – for putting every ounce of their passion into creating and operating one of New York’s most beloved restaurants, one that in 1998 spawned an entirely new genre of Indian restaurants throughout the world,” said Danny Meyer, CEO of USHG. “Floyd and his team have made a valiant effort to make a great restaurant also a great business. It has been a magnificent 12-year run, and Tabla will close this chapter on a high note and in an uplifting way that celebrates what has been one of our city’s great culinary stories.”
Over the next three months, Tabla will celebrate 12 momentous years, and embrace, thank and say au revoir to its legion of loyal guests and community of friends. From now through December 30, Tabla will host a line-up of farewell events, offering fans numerous opportunities to enjoy it as often as possible before it closes: beer and wine tastings, guest chef appearances, benefits, cocktail parties, purveyor breakfast, cooking classes, and more. Visit www.tablany.com to sign up for the upcoming schedule of events.
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