Valentine's Day Restaurant Massacre

Posted by R.K. Gella

As the voluptuous cherub prepares his arrows meticulously at the grindstone, several restaurateurs have claimed Saturday for their swan song.  It seems that there will be more than love in the air come St. Valentines Day as suffering restaurants attempt to recoup from what has already been a dreadful year.

As the New York Observer reported, three high profile NYC restaurants have announced plans for closure following Cupid’s big night.

“People hold on until Valentine’s Day,” Cocotte chef and co-owner Bill Snell then explained to The Observer. (Mr. Snell attributed the barely five-year-old bistro’s demise to high rents and intense competition along Brooklyn’s burgeoning restaurant row.)

“Valentine’s Day is the biggest restaurant day of the year,” Mr. Snell said. “You make a crazy amount of money. So that’s what everybody does. They hold off until Valentine’s Day, make their nut and then close.”

It’s hard to say exactly how many restaurants will pack it up following Valentines Day, as forward news of closures is kept rather confidential, yet considering the wave of restaurants that shuttered following the Dec. and Jan. holidays, and the 14th being the last significant dining date until Mother’s Day in May, there could be a whole lot of available real estate.

“A lot of them just walk in one day, put the keys on the counter and walk out,” said Chuck Hunt, executive vice president of the New York City chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. “Obviously, a lot of people, if they see the end coming, they try to get through the last quarter of the year for the holidays and then close after New Year’s Eve,” he said.

On a slightly unrelated note, in a future broadcast (set to air the end of the month) of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, we find our cosmopolitan host maneuvering through the streets of Manhattan as he seeks out fabled eateries on the cusp of being swept away by the city’s contemporary tide.

The episode, shot back in Nov., is entitled “Disappearing Manhattan”…

Strangely enough, with consideration for the present state of NYC’s restaurant industry, Mr. Bordain could have taken that title in a completely different direction.

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