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Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke closes for good

The New York City barbecue restaurant, which had operated for 18 years, was widely credited with launching an urban barbecue renaissance.
Photo courtesy of Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke, the Danny Meyer-owned barbecue restaurant and jazz club in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood, will permanently close after 18 years.

Meyer shared the news on social media Wednesday, saying on Twitter that he “tried everything to avert this day.”

Blue Smoke, which opened six months after 9/11, has been closed since New York first closed dining rooms in March. Also closed is the Jazz Standard club connected to the restaurant.

It joins an unprecedented number of neighborhood restaurants that have closed since the outset of the pandemic.

A Blue Smoke location in New York City’s Battery Park area, which opened in 2011, remains open for pickup, delivery and nationwide shipping.

“This place was built on the shoulders of two beautiful communities: barbecue and jazz,” Meyer said. “We cherish those ties and the music will play on. Beyond grateful for the most loyal community of guests and talented team members over nearly 20 years.”

Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group late last month decided to reclose all on-premise dining at its New York City restaurants for the “health and safety of our people” amid rising coronavirus cases.

Blue Smoke, named for the curl of smoke that rises from a barbecue pit, is widely credited with sparking an “urban barbecue” trend in New York City. The restaurant’s menu included items like Chipotle Chicken Wings, Texas Beef Brisket and pulled pork. Blue Smoke’s menu got a major overhaul about six years ago, focusing more on Southern dishes rather than barbecue from around the country.

The restaurant’s founding chef, Kenny Callaghan, was one of the creators of New York’s Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

News of the closure drew many heartfelt messages from former Blue Smoke diners.

“As a Texan living in NYC, I truly loved this place,” one wrote on Twitter. “We have so many fond memories of eating early suppers at Blue Smoke. My kids adored the custom ‘pig cookies’ that you would let them decorate! I loved the meat.”

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