Aw, shucks: Grand Central Oyster Bar closes again

Century-old restaurant had been shell of former self since reopening

Executive chef Sandy Ingber and Grand Central Oyster Bar (Facebook; Getty)
Executive chef Sandy Ingber and Grand Central Oyster Bar (Facebook; Getty)

Indoor dining has resumed in New York City, but it may not be enough to save some of the city’s most famous restaurants.

Take the Grand Central Oyster Bar: Two weeks after it reopened, the 107-year-old restaurant has shuttered again, citing a lack of foot traffic, the New York Post reported.

The restaurant closed in March along with most other non-essential businesses. Because of its location — within the Beaux-Arts train terminal, without any option for outdoor seating — it could not reopen until the state lifted restrictions on indoor dining in September. Even then, it could only operate at 25 percent capacity, meaning it could serve no more than 81 diners at a time.

It also relies heavily on foot traffic from office workers, Metro-North commuters and tourists who typically pass through Grand Central Terminal, but who have been absent during the pandemic.

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“We were only doing 3 percent of the revenues we ordinarily do at this time,” executive chef Sandy Ingber told the Post.

The restaurant is not considering closing permanently, but its owners are hoping that its landlord, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will provide rent relief so it can resurface at some point.

Other high-profile restaurants that have gone under, either temporarily or permanently, because of the pandemic include Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse, Thomas Keller’s TAK Room at Hudson Yards and Jing Fong, the city’s largest Chinese restaurant.

[NYP] — Amy Plitt