UPDATE: The team at Governor released a statement to Eater saying they will refund all the donations made through the crowdfunding campaign. See the full statement here.
Dumbo restaurant Governor was ravaged by five feet of storm water during Hurricane Sandy, and the Strong Buzz reported this morning that the restaurant will not reopen. According to a statement from the owners, executive chef Brad McDonald, known for his surprising and thoughtful dishes, will be leaving the operation.
Tamer Hamawi, Emelie Kihlstrom, and Elise Rosenberg released this statement:
When hurricane Sandy struck our area several months ago, many people experienced great losses. Our heartfelt prayers go out to all of those who suffered and those who continue to do so.
In the aftermath of this dreadful storm, we assessed the destruction at Governor caused by five feet of water, and we were determined to rebuild our fledgling restaurant. But despite our commitment and the subsequent and remarkable outpouring of support in all forms–from individuals, the restaurant industry and the community, we have, regrettably, been forced to accept that the scope and scale of repairing the damage to our restaurant is beyond our means financially.
It is with a very heavy heart that we must humbly face up to this fact. The response from Dumbo’s neighborhood residents, the city at large and the food journalism community regarding our rebuilding effort was gracious, thoughtful and deeply touching to us all.
We will continue to operate Colonie and Gran Electrica and refocus our efforts on making these businesses viable in their Brooklyn neighborhoods for the long term.
Additionally, our chef, partner and friend Brad McDonald has decided to leave our restaurant to spend time with his wife and two young children. This split is mutually agreed upon and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
Finally, we want to thank everyone who supported and continues to support our restaurants Colonie and Gran Electrica. With much gratitude, we remain committed to offering our diners a wonderful experience.
Originally, Governor hoped to reopen in February after major construction. Governor was one of the earliest restaurants to begin crowdfunding on GoFundMe after the Hurricane — perhaps because owners Kihlstrom, Rosenberg, and Hamawi raised money through Kickstarter to open their first restaurant Colonie. The page is unavailable now, but Eater reported that they raised about $40,000 in two months. Their hopeful goal was $150,000. David Chang and his posse at Momofuku held a benefit in the restaurant’s honor at Booker and Dax that cost $325 a plate. But it’s unclear what will happen to the funds that were raised to rebuild the restaurant.
We’ve reached out to the owners and will be back with any updates.