“The crazy momentum of a busy restaurant, open every day, makes it hard to implement changes, let alone the major overhaul we have been thinking about for some time now,” says Thomas McNaughton.
Forgoing a typical press release in favor of a personal letter to friends (as he put it), McNaughton announced that Central Kitchen (3000 20th St.) will close on July 9. The stated goal of being an “accessible neighborhood restaurant” never really came to pass, as — to McNaughton's evident frustration — Central Kitchen has always been “perceived as a higher-end restaurant, and that has never felt right to me.”
[jump] The Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, of which Central Kitchen is a part (along with Aatxe, Cafe du Nord, and McNaughton's other restaurants, flour + water and Salumeria) will revamp the kitchen and roll out a new menu of sharable items “comprised of our love for all things raw, cured, fermented, and smoked.” Further, McNaughton says, there will be a greater emphasis on vegetables grown by their purveyors, additional pasta and bread offerings, and meat and fish from Central Kitchen's wood-burning hearth.
McNaughton concludes: “I am thrilled to have the freedom to start from scratch with this new menu and focus ultimately on the things I crave and want to eat. Central Kitchen will be a welcoming gathering place that is more connected to the neighborhood than ever before.”
In other words, this plan knits the McNaughton's 20th Street restaurants more tightly together, and that includes The Upstairs and The Butcher Block, the private dining rooms that provide room for another 55 warm bodies. Central Kitchen will reopen to the public Thursday, July 21. As always, we'll keep an eye out and update accordingly.