The Restaurant Reopening that Wasn’t

Image: Gage & Tollner

When I first learned a couple months back that Gage & Tollner, the 125-year-old Brooklyn landmark, was planning to reopen this month, my mind raced back to the amazing “soft clam belly broil” appetizer. Try to picture about a dozen sweet and tender bivalves crammed onto a single slab of toast, the entirety drenched in butter. I was reminded also of the sinfully rich seafood bisques and the glorious thick chops the restaurant was famous for back when I reviewed it for The Brooklyn Paper.

I couldn’t wait to go back — to see if one actually could go back.

It turns out you can’t.

The night before the restaurant was scheduled to reopen on March 15, the owners had to abort because of the coronavirus pandemic. The restoration, which was 16 years in the making, has been indefinitely postponed, according to the website.

Whether G & T will ever open again remains to be seen. As Tim Gilberto wrote yesterday, the attrition rate among active restaurants is preternaturally high right now. That doesn’t bode well for new ventures.

A New York Times headline asks a painful-to-contemplate question: “Will We Have an America Without Restaurants?” Equally hard to countenance is the byline of the article: Andrew Carmellini, Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Missy Robbins, Marcus Samuelsson, and Adam Saper. That’s six of New York’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs wondering about their — and our — future.