I don't think it's fair to blame the Power & Light District every time another restaurant closes. I mean, it's not my favorite destination for local dining, so surely it's not luring every possible patron away from the vast pool of restaurants in the city. If it is, it shouldn't be.
But Stephanie Shirazi, co-owner of the intimate, cosmopolitan Shiraz at 320 Southwest Boulevard, does blame the P&L District, along with the downturn in the economy, for closing the 14-year-old restaurant she owns with her husband, chef Ali Shirazi. They shut the doors last week.
One of the first upscale restaurants in the Crossroads District, Shiraz had established a solid reputation for its high-style version of Persian and Continental dishes. But when an offer came to buy the building, Stephanie and Ali said yes. Very quickly.
"It's bittersweet," Stephanie told me. "We had wonderful employees and very loyal customers. But the time was right."
Stephanie assured me that the space would continue as a restaurant.
"The new owners bought all the kitchen equipment, too," she said.
Stephanie has been a successful real-estate agent for some time, but Ali has been a fixture in the Shiraz kitchen since opening day. Will he continue cooking?
"He's ready for a change," Stephanie said. "But what it is is still to be determined. We have no plans right now."
Dan Clothier, who owns City Tavern at 101 West 22nd Street, does have plans. He says the P&L District hurt his business last summer — so much so that he stopped serving lunch. But customers have returned, and he reopens for lunch on November 19. He has hired former Yia Yia's chef Jason Czaja, as part of his plan to "elevate the food, reduce the check prices and make the dining room more casual."
Clothier says there will be no more white tablecloths. And when Czaja's new menu kicks off on November 12, he says, nothing will cost more than $25 — even the filet, and that filet will be part of a complete plate. "Customers are tired of everything being à la carte," he says. "They want a full meal."
Count me in!
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