Jean-Georges’ Mercer Kitchen closing after 25 years

Nightlife magnate Scott Sartiano could replace Soho eatery at 99 Prince Street

Jean-Georges Vongerichten and 99 Prince Street in Manhattan NYC (Getty Images, Google Maps)
Jean-Georges Vongerichten and 99 Prince Street in Manhattan NYC (Getty Images, Google Maps)

As one kitchen door opens, another is slamming shut.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Soho restaurant Mercer Kitchen is closing at the end of the year, Eater reported. While the restaurant at 99 Prince Street is shuttering after 25 years of operation, it’s not clear if JGR will still provide room service to the Mercer Hotel.

“A great run,” Vongerichten said of Mercer Kitchen’s quarter-century as a celebrity spot and communal dining innovator.

The burners may not be off in the kitchen for long, though. Sources told the outlet Scott Sartiano, a partner in the hotel and the nightlife figure behind Zero Bond, is planning on replacing Mercer Kitchen with a restaurant of his own, though he didn’t comment on the report.

The closure of Mercer Kitchen is the latest in a series of changes impacting the Mercer Hotel. Last year, André Balazs was ousted from ownership of the hotel after majority owners Richard Born and Ira Drukier sued to have him removed. Additionally, Sartiano is working to “reboot” the hotel in his role as creative director, according to the New York Times.

While it’s the end of an era for Vongerichten at the Mercer Kitchen, the chef still has a number of fires in the oven.

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The celebrity chef is set to partially open the Tin Building this month at the Seaport, which it is leasing from the Howard Hughes Corporation. The three-level food hall spans 53,000 square feet and is inside the landmarked building at 96 South Street.

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From left: Howard Hughes CEO David O’Reilly and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in front of the Tin Building at the Seaport (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian with Getty Images, Howard Hughes and Twitter/arcofnyc)
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The site was one of the former homes of the Fulton Fish Market.

Hughes purchased a 25 percent stake in Jean-Georges Restaurants, which counts 40 eateries among its portfolio. The firm paid $45 million for the minority stake, plus another $10 million for the option to buy an additional 20 percent of the company in the future.

Hughes plans on infusing capital into the business to grow the restaurant group around the world, which will surely keep Vongerichten busy.

— Holden Walter-Warner