A year and a half after its initial debut, the deathwatched (and almost shitshow) Wakiya, sweet, sweet, Wakiya, is closing its doors. According to a release today, Ian Schrager and chef Yuji Wakiya's failed project will close on December 21 due to Chef Wakiya's "longstanding commitments in Japan." The Gramercy Park Hotel will open a new restaurant in its place in Spring '09 with a new theme, decor, and kitchen.
We've heard rumblings over the past few weeks that Ian Schrager wasn't happy with the performance of Wakiya and planned on ending the contract at the end of the year, but the flacks have been consistently tight-lipped. They figured out a good way to spin the story below:
"We have been extremely pleased with the excitement and interest that the Wakiya Restaurant and its innovative food generated. It proves that the Gramercy Park Hotel is a tremendous venue for world class dining. Unfortunately, Chef Wakiya has determined that due to longstanding commitments in Japan, he cannot personally devote the time on site that he feels is necessary to operating the restaurant at the highest level. We have decided therefore to close the restaurant on December 21. We wish Chef Wakiya much success in his endeavors in Japan.
As for the Gramercy Park Hotel, we are committed to opening a new restaurant in the spring, featuring new decor and a new kitchen. It will be designed to add even more distinction to the hotel and to appeal both to our guests and the many New Yorkers who have embraced the Gramercy Park for its unique brand of hospitality and style."
Please call me if you have any questions."