Chef Wiley Dufresne is Closing WD-50

Posted on June 16, 2014

Diners and chefs alike were shocked when Chef Wiley Dufresne, the king of molecular gastronomy, tweeted that he is closing his celebrated restaurant WD 50, located at at the 50 Clinton Street on the lower East side of Manhattan. Chef Dufresne tweeted that November 30, 2014, "will be our final night of service."

"Come celebrate with us for the next 173 days," he added. Dufresne isn't tired of the restaurant business. The closing is due to a much more prosaic reason: a real estate developer has bought the parcel on which the restaurant is situated and is going to build a new residential building on the site. Dufresne told The New York Times that he has not looked at the plans for the new building saying, "I haven't been particularly eager to look at what my headstone's going to look like." He said it would be impossible to cook exciting food in the middle of a construction site with all the noise and dust.

So what's next? He will eventually open a new restaurant somewhere else in the city, but he's not sure where yet. But until the closing date, the restaurant will be open and the creativity will flow. Dufresne said that in the meantime, they "are going to continue to push and continue to do new stuff." He says he may ask diners on Twitter and Facebook to make requests for famous dishes from the restaurant's early years.

The reaction to WD-50 closing has been overwhelming. Diners and other chefs are not happy about the turn of events. Rene Redzepi, the chef for the Copenhagen restaurant Noma, which has been called the best restaurant in the world told the Times that he is sad about the closing. He said that he frequently visits New York City and and that "WD-50 has always been the place to go and see the edgy side of cooking. It was the place to have your preconceptions challenged." Chef Redzepi called WD-50 one of the most influential restaurants in the world.

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