Peter Hoffman and his Prince Street restaurant, Savoy, are often credited with getting the locavore movement started in New York — Hoffman was seasonal and local long before it was cool. Well, now that the rest of the world has caught up, a rep for Hoffman writes in to say that Savoy will close June 18, though Hoffman will open a new, casual concept in the space "later this year." The seventeen-year-running dinner series, which has featured readings and talks from the likes of Fergus Henderson and Mark Bittman, will carry on at Hoffman's East Village restaurant, Back Forty.
The full announcement:
Savoy Chef-Owner Peter Hoffman announces that he will close his SoHo restaurant on June 18th, 2011, after more than 20 years in business. Hoffman will open a new, more casual restaurant in the same space later this year.
Hoffman states, “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity this restaurant has afforded me to feed people the food to which I feel most connected, to develop wonderful friendships with customers and fellow chefs, and to explore the educational side of many culinary subjects. To everything there is a season, especially restaurants, and I Iook forward to introducing customers to the next one that will occupy this space. I’m not giving up my corner on Prince and Crosby; I’m just giving us a new canvas upon which to work.”
One of the first New York City restaurants to feature local, seasonal ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket, Savoy was an early torchbearer for the locavore movement (before the term even existed). And, indeed, many of the chefs who worked at the restaurant - including Sharon Pachter and Charles Kiely (The Grocery), Matt Weingarten (Inside Park at St. Bart's) and Andrew Feinberg (Franny's) - later went on to open restaurants based on a similar ethos.
Other prominent chef/restaurateurs who worked at the restaurant over the years include: Caroline Fidanza (Saltie), John Tucker (Rose Water), Todd Aarons (Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars), and David Wurth (Crossroads in Hillsdale, NY; under construction).
In addition to its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, Savoy has long been known for its 17-year-old dinner series program, which has featured readings and talks by prominent guests such as Michael Pollan, Adam Gopnik, Wendell Berry, Stephen Jay Gould, Mark Bittman, Jancis Robinson, and Fergus Henderson; and for its annual events, including Passover seders, calĂ§otadas, and cassoulet festivals. Hoffman’s second restaurant, Back Forty, located in the East Village, will carry on the tradition of these annual events.