Ouest, the local-friendly restaurant on Broadway between 83rd and 84th street, will close its doors later this month. Co-owner Tom Valenti told the staff this week that the end could come as soon as June 13. When we stopped by Thursday night, Valenti was speaking with emotional customers at the packed bar and didn’t want to chat about the closure with us.
“How do you think it’s going?” she said. “Not good.”
Valenti told the Times that the lease was up and that the neighborhood has changed too much.
“We used to get the artists, writers, intellectuals, performers on a regular basis,” he said. “But a lot of those Upper West Side old-timers, people like Sidney Lumet, are gone. And the new people in the big apartments have different interests.”
Ouest has been around for 14 years. It serves “Nouveau American” food, and New York magazine called it “appealing enough to shatter the misperception that there is a lack of worthy places to eat on the Upper West Side…Valenti has honed the menu to the point where almost every dish resonates with love-it-in-an-instant flavors that mask their degrees of difficulty.”
The Times says Valenti is “looking at other options,” but it’s not clear whether he’ll open another restaurant.
Artist Enrico Miguel Thomas stood nearby on Thursday painting a picture of the restaurant’s facade for a customer who wanted it.