Friday, March 16, 2018

El Quijote

VANISHING

After nearly 90 years in the Chelsea Hotel, the great and wonderful and gorgeous El Quijote is closing on March 30.



Eater reports: "Staffers at the historic restaurant, located at 226 West 23rd St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues, were given two weeks notice. Ownership allegedly told employees that the restaurant is being renovated and will re-open eventually. Eater NY has reached out to the restaurant for comment."

Back in 2014, I reported on this coming closure. At the time, I was told that El Quijote would be upscaled and sanitized in a fashion similar to what happened to Minetta Tavern.

The plan was denied -- and then confirmed. A rep for Ed Scheetz, the man who took over the hotel, said at the time that they would "retain the signature look and feel of El Quijote" while "maintaining its authenticity."

But then life went on. El Q remained untouched. We held our breath.

When -- and if -- the place reopens, it won't be the old El Quijote anymore.


9 comments:

BrooksNYC said...

I find myself increasingly numb as the bodies pile up. But this one wrecks me. My first NYC apartment was just around the corner from El Quijote. I've been going there for 48 years.

Barry Collodi said...

So sorry, one of our favorites.

CubedLink said...

Oh no! This is crushing! I love this place. The look, atmosphere, and omg the food! This is so sad...

MikeB26 said...

Just rip my fucking heart out. The last time I was at El Quijote was to celebrate the life of my old, late boss, Janet Landon. RIP Janet. You were smart and fair. You fought the good fight, even if you had to take a beating. We miss you.

ISOLINA PEREZ said...

I've been goung to El Quijote for over 20 years I'm so sad to hear it's closing. Their food is delicious and their sangria is great! My fav waiter...Fernando! Please reopen again

Toddly Mann said...

I lived four floors above it, early mid 80s. Would shuffle down in my moose hide slippers in various states of alert or bleary to get paella to go, sometimes waiting at the bar with the almost famous, the currently famous or my favorites, the formerly famous. Often parked my R90/6 with the Czech sidecar out front. It was in excellent shape. I on the other hand was a wreck, in that glorious, mid 20s post punk rock moment in time. Now, we take the kids there from time to time, and I marvel at how they were able to scrub the tar and nicotine laden dust webs that hung like lace from a vampire movie that used to cling from all the figural bottles and Quixotic tchotchkes behind the bar. If I could eat there every night between now and closing, I would. There will not be another like it.

Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com said...

Oh, this one hurts. They all do, so you feel like maybe you've gotten immune, but then a closing like this slides under your armor and cuts.

I'm an out of towner, and each day I feel less and less like visiting NYC, as when I go there now it's turning into Anywhere USA. :-(

Unknown said...

I have been going to El Q for 25 years with friends, family and dates. It is such a wonderful staff. I always felt at home and me and everyone that was with me was always treated with respect. I hope and pray that it will eventually be re-opened. Since the hotel has been under going renovations since Hector was a pup I can only hope that renovations are done in a very timely fashion.

penny arcade said...

It is quite extraordinary that the ownership of the poor Chelsea is so clueless as to destroy El Quijote although given what they have done

to the Chelsea I wonder why I am surprised. I adore El Quijote it has been part of my NY landscape for 50 years butt since it is on the

West Side and I on the East Side I do not eat there often and it remains a pilgrimage I make a few times a year but it resides i n me 24/7

the way the Vatican or the Louvre do. Unlike Ratners which suffered from low attendence , El Quijote with its Peter Lugar prices

seemed always full whenever I went so I wonder if gutting it is just a skewered idea of progress. El Quijote deserves a funeral.