The Red Cat, a Pioneering Chelsea Restaurant, Will Close

“The Red Cat, an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant in Chelsea that became a destination, will close at the end of December after nearly 20 years in business. The reason is none of the usual suspects: a big rent hike, slumping traffic or the need for a costly renovation, said the chef, Jimmy Bradley. He has simply decided to quit.”

“(…) “My goal was to have my own business by the time I was 30,” Mr. Bradley said. He was 31 when he became the chef and an owner of the Red Cat, on 10th Avenue.
Chelsea was a much different place back then, with no High Line, art-gallery scene or sleek high-rise condominiums. London Terrace had elegant apartments; nearby there were, and still are, public housing projects. Gentrification has not had a huge impact on the Red Cat’s business Mr. Bradley said. The condos often have absentee owners who don’t come in for a bowl of lentil soup or a plate of local skate, and tourists plying the High Line are not particularly tuned in to the restaurant’s presence.

“It’s difficult for small businesses in New York now,” Mr. Bradley said. “My staff can’t afford to live nearby like me. They get home at 2 a.m. and have to be back at work at 9.”

Read more here.

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