The owners of a seminal London restaurant — Providores on Marylebone High Street —have announced that they will close at the end of July after 18 years.
Peter Gordon and Michael McGrath, co-founders of The Providores and downstairs Tapa Room have told Eater that “[being] in London since 2001 has been absolutely brilliant! But, we’ve decided that it’s time to close the doors, and so at the end of July we’ll do just that.”
The restaurant, which many credit with advancing the causes of Antipodean brunch culture, flat whites, small plates, no reservations, vegetable-influenced fusion cooking, and New Zealand wines, opened in 2001, quite some time before some or all of these ideas were called trends and then mainstreamed. Gordon, as head chef, opened the restaurant having worked with Fergus and Margot Henderson, of St John, upstairs at the French House in the late 1990s, where he worked with The Modern Pantry’s Anna Hansen.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the restaurant we have created,” the owners said in a statement. “We have had a huge amount of fun, employed and mentored hundreds of talented staff and introduced the flat white, Turkish eggs, small plates, brunch and no reservations to the UK dining scene. We’ve been an unofficial NZ trade showroom showcasing NZ food, wine and drinks, a NZ way of service, and a NZ vibe.”
There is no suggestion that the restaurant is loss-making, but like so many restaurants in the industry, market conditions could have affected the medium- and long-term viability of the business. The decision does not explicitly point to pre-emptive action in the face of Brexit, rising costs, and increased competition, especially considering Providore’s prime location on an affluent, busy high street; it marks the end of an era and not all restaurants, least of all ones that have been so influential for so long, can last forever.
“We have decided we want to pursue other, personal projects and travel and relax after working our socks off for 18 years,” they added. “It’s been an incredibly tough decision to make and we are obviously sad in many ways, but this is the right decision for us personally and we want to go out on a high.
“We hope to see as many of you as possible over the next few weeks for grilled scallops and sweet chilli sauce, and a glass of NZ sauv blanc or three.”