Shocking news came down the wire late last night when word that chef Harold Dieterle, longtime West Village restaurateur and owner of the Perilla and Kin Shop, would be closing up both restaurants by year's end and possibly leaving the hospitality industry altogether. Dieterle told Eater's Ryan Sutton: "I'm really proud of what we've done. It's all kind of run its course. It's gotten to the point where I'm not having fun and enjoying myself. I'm not saying I never want to return to the restaurant business, but right now, I'm feeling a little beat up and a little tired." Dieterle closed his third concept, The Marrow, last October along with business partner Alicia Nosenzo.
Chefs throwing in the towel, or packing up and moving away to a less-saturated market is an increasingly common trend of late as it gets harder and harder to make a living in NYC with a mom-and-pop model business. "The cost of doing business in New York is going up and up and up, and our sales haven't continued to go up to keep that in line. It's been very frustrating," he tells Eater. But these closures are not rent-oriented as many others have been. "It has more to do with all the annual costs of doing business increases," he tells us. Dieterle was the winner of Top Chef season one and opened the charming Perilla on a quiet stretch of Jones Street in the West Village shortly thereafter. Kin Shop, a Thai-influenced concept, followed in 2010. Critically acclaimed and beloved by nearly all, it's perplexing that a chef with two fixture establishments (always packed) would make such a decision. So what exactly was Dieterle's breaking point? It wasn't one thing, exactly. "It's definitely been building for a while," he tells us."Don't think there was a specific moment when I was 'over it' Probably would have called it a day earlier. It has been very important for us to keep our employees with jobs."
Sadly, Kin Shop will close before Thanksgiving and Perilla will close in early December. Dieterle will take some time off to have a baby with his wife Meredith and will possibly return to open a fast-casual concept...maybe. Stay tuned, and get to these iconic spots while you still can.