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This Iconic NYC Restaurant Just Closed After 23 Years in Business

The end of an era has come, as the mayor of New York makes a push for vaccine tourism.
Daniel Boulud

The lifestyle landscape of New York City has certainly changed over the past year, as one more major NYC restaurant closure proved this week. The good news is that while this marks the end of an era for diners in one Manhattan neighborhood, the most resilient NYC restaurants—like this one—are finding intriguing ways to start over.

Renowned French-American chef Daniel Boulud opened Café Boulud in 1998 at the Surrey Hotel on 76th Street and Madison Avenue. Poised since then as a mainstay to the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a darling for local and national media coverage, Café Boulud has branded itself to deliver "the finesse of traditional French cuisine with the warm hospitality of a neighborhood café," as their website reads. (Prior to Café Boulud's opening in the location, Boulud's flagship restaurant, Daniel, occupied the space before moving half a mile south to 65th Street.)

RELATED: The Saddest Restaurant Closures in Your State

However, this week news broke that Café Boulud will be closing in its current location, as a new hotel group is taking over the Surrey Hotel… and it sounds like their vision differed from Boulud's. "The new owners wanted to take the restaurant in a direction that didn't suit me," Boulud has been quoted saying about the matter. While it sounds like the chef is navigating the transition with some degree of grace, it's likely not a breezy change. After he'd occupied the current space for a decade, in 2009 Boulud tapped an artist from Paris and a New York architect to tailor the restaurant to have a very precise vibe.

So while it would be tough for any business owner to leave a space so many patrons have looked to (and with a Miami-based Italian restaurant rumored to be taking its place), word has it Boulud isn't looking to shutter Café Boulud for good. He's said to be seeking out another Upper East Side location to reopen Café Boulud.

Meanwhile, interestingly, Boulud and his team made the best of pandemic struggles for customers and Boulud's employees when they introduced Daniel Boulud Kitchen, a pickup and delivery concept that offers "a weekly-changing menu of contemporary French classics prepared in the acclaimed DANIEL kitchen." They say a portion of all sales benefits Boulud's staff in the wake of business dampened by COVID-19.

In the meantime, hopefully New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's tourism vaccine hopes and the September reopening of Broadway that was announced this week will help many New York restaurants turn the corner this summer.

If you're catching up on the week's trending food news, check out This Is the Country That Drinks the Most Wine, Data Says.

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more