Shell-shocked bivalve lovers can rejoice — the Grand Central Oyster Bar, closed for most of 17 months, will reopen on Sept. 7, the restaurant announced on Monday.
The piscine palace’s return will soon be followed at other iconic places that remained dark even as business picked up around town. But a few marquee eateries are stubbornly holding out.
The more than a century-old Oyster Bar, famed for its soaring Guastavino-tile ceiling and daily-changing bivalve selection, has been sorely missed by fans since March 2020, except for a quickly aborted, nine-day reopening last fall.
A scarcity of Grand Central commuters crippled the institution even after indoor dining was restored. The landmark terminal saw 160,000 people pass through on weekdays daily before the pandemic, but the number is estimated today at one-quarter of that.
Now, Oyster Bar president Janet Poccia is betting the oyster farm on recent upticks in traffic and tourism despite the Delta virus spread. “We relish the opportunity to be of service again and fill our customers’ hearts, and ours, with joy, and do what we do best,” she said in a statement.
But it won’t quite be business as usual. The menu will be “full but more limited.” And although the announcement said the Oyster Bar will reopen at “full capacity,” it also said tables will be spaced six feet apart — a rule no longer required, and unlike its tighter spacing in the past.
Spokesman John Cirillo explained the seeming contradiction, “We’re not expecting to have every seat full at the start, so people can be seated farther apart.” The Oyster Bar normally seats up to 200 in the main dining room and 80 more in the cozier Saloon area.
The Oyster Bar joins a gathering tide of returns to life that have included Veronika, Bond 44 and Barbetta.
The biggest future news is that The Grill and The Pool — successor to the Four Seasons — will reopen on Sept. 9 along with sister Seagram Building eatery the Lobster Club, Major Food Group owner Jeff Zalaznick told The Post.
Also set to join the party are the Carlyle Hotel dining room (rebranded as Dowling’s), Le Coucou on Lafayette Street in October and The Clocktower on Madison Square Park — the latter “as soon as we can assemble a staff,” said owner Stephen Starr.
Danny Meyer’s The Modern re-launches its dining room in mid-September (the bar has been open). Skyscraper-top Manhatta at 28 Liberty St. will also reopen but the timing “is more dependent on return-to-office timelines in FiDi,” said rep Jetty-Jane Connor.
But the expected reopenings of some other popular places are on hold. Yet to say when they’ll reopen indoors are:
- Shun Lee Palace, the most luxurious old-school Chinese restaurant.
- The Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren’s Midtown power scene for movers and shakers.
- DB Bistro, Daniel Boulud’s theater-district favorite.
- Sardi’s, the most legendary of all Broadway-centric eateries.
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