The Real Deal New York

Trouble in paradise: Why traveling pop-up restaurant was temporarily shuttered

The bar, currently set up in Soho for the summer, is now open again
July 14, 2018 01:49PM

Restaurateur James Gardner and his new pop-up, Gitano NYC. (Credit: Instagram)

The New York pop-up concept based on the popular Mexican bar, Gitano, was closed temporarily this week due to “sanitary violations.”

Created by the same founder and principal owner as the Tulum location, James Gardner, the temporary restaurant was found in violation of multiple Health Department rules on July 10 and 11 “ranging from insufficient refrigeration to improper sewage disposal,” according to Eater.

The restaurant, currently set up in Soho, claimed the issues stemmed from the difficulty of connecting a formerly vacant lot into the city grid. “One of the most challenging parts of this project has been the core utilities infrastructure, bringing city water and waste disposal connections to an empty lot in NYC,” a spokesperson for Gitano NYC told Eater.

The restaurant, which seats about 450 people, opened in June on a 24,000-square-foot lot and has been frequented by celebrities like actress Chloe Sevigny and singer Lance Bass, among others.

Following its sudden closure this week, diners with reservations reported receiving explanations ranging from construction to issues with the Health Department, and posted screenshots in which the restaurant offered them a free round of drinks to make up for the cancellations.

Gardner told the New York Post on Friday that the restaurant is back to business as usual.

“We have worked closely with local government offices to make this miracle of a project a reality,” he said to the Post, “My concept of the world’s first traveling restaurant is not a pop-up but is substantial, is built to last, to travel, and to meet the regulations of any municipality’s full restaurant food-service regulations.”

Gitano NYC will be open until the fall, when it is supposed to move to another location. [Eater]Erin Hudson