Pichet Ong told his Facebook fans last night that he will close P*Ong and its sister bakery, Batch, in three days. “Basically, business has been tough for everyone,” Ong told us, but the dessert bar has been “down by 40 percent since last year.” After renegotiating the restaurant’s costs and even having loyal purveyors who allowed late payments, “the only thing hanging over us is the rent so I had to move and take what’s working out. Batch is doing well.” Cue the good news, after the jump.
By the end of July or August, Ong will expand into a larger space nearby in Chelsea. (He’s not ready to reveal the exact location because it’s still occupied.) The menu will basically continue its seasonal focus on puddings, cupcakes, and cookies, but the extra room will allow him to do ... ice cream! After Batch 2.0, Ong plans to open a second, smaller outlet on the Upper West Side. The goal is to “do them back to back.” If you can’t wait until late summer for his salted caramel chocolate cupcakes, Batch will continue to fulfill standing orders and the bakery will accept new ones (call the same number and leave a message) to be baked in a space in Long Island City. In the meantime, Ong will finish his book Sugar and Salt: Redefining Sweet and Savory; teach (the upcoming Urban Foodies class for kids will be relocated to Kurve); and take a much-needed vacation.