New York City's Legendary Four Seasons Restaurant Shutters | Food Newsfeed
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The restaurant's new location on 49th street reopened in August 2018.

New York City's Legendary Four Seasons Restaurant Shutters

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Less than a year after opening in a new location, the 60-year-old establishment has closed.
By Rachel Taylor June 2019 Chef Profiles

New York City’s famed Four Seasons Restaurant has closed. The lunch spot for power brokers, celebrities, and New York City’s elite shuttered after lunch service on June 11.

For more than 60 years, the upscale establishment hosted lavish parties and catered to entertainment and business execs. However, over the past few years its popularity waned.

“We have been privileged to work with one of the finest culinary teams and outstanding staff that has stayed with us through some challenging times over the course of our history,” managing partner Alex von Bidder wrote on The Four Seasons’ website. “We thank our loyal guests for the opportunity and support over the years.”

In 2016, the restaurant was forced to change locations after the lease at the Seagram Building on Manhattan's Park Avenue expired. Four Seasons managing partner Alex von Bidder told CNN Business investors funneled more than $30 million into the business to help it relocate.

The restaurant found a new space on 49th street, only a few blocks away from the original spot. It reopened in August 2018. However, it failed to attract customers like the Park Avenue location did.

"We didn't have enough time to make sure they would come back to us," von Bidder told CNN. "People would eat [at the Four Seasons] two or three times per week. Then all of a sudden it's gone for two years. They fell out of habit."

During its two-year hiatus, the business world of New York was changing dramatically, von Bidder said. The concept of the ‘power lunch’ had faded away and fewer companies were booking events and parties at restaurants like the Four Seasons.

After reopening, customers were wary of menu prices. The cheapest item on the lunch menu was the tuna burger, which came in at $36. On the dinner menu, entrees started at $40.

“We just couldn’t make it; the restaurant world has changed,” von Bidder told The New York Times.

The restaurant took another blow last winter when managing partner, Julian Niccolini, was removed from his position after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in December.

Feeling the continual pressure and no clear solution for the restaurant, investors made the decision to close it, von Bidder told The New York Times.  

 “We were not doing enough business to satisfy them,” he said.