Henry at the Life Hotel is no more, at least for now. The pan-African restaurant from star chef JJ Johnson closed this week, according to a hotel staffer. It’s no longer taking reservations, and both the website and Instagram have disappeared. Eater has reached out to Johnson’s team for more information.
The restaurant’s been open since late 2017, but Johnson didn’t take over the reigns in a partnership with Craveable Hospitality Group until August 2018. Henry was his first big solo venture after making his name at the Cecil and Minton’s in Harlem, and the menu intended to showcase flavors from the African diaspora. It received one star in the Times for spice-laden options and ended up on Pete Wells’s year-end list of best new restaurants. It also notably attracted a diverse audience, moreso than most fine dining restaurants in the city.
The restaurant is inside of the Life Hotel, at 19 W. 31st St. between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, accompanied by a bar called Gibson + Luce that opened with drinks from Pam Wiznitzer, though she left in January. It too was a Craveable project and has closed. Craveable owns other spots such as Jimmy, a bar in the James Hotel in soho.
Johnson — who’s a James Beard Award-winning writer and an Eater Young Gun — is not without a restaurant now, though. Just last week, the chef opened a new restaurant in Harlem called FieldTrip, a fast-casual spot focused on grains from around the world.
Stay tuned for more.
This post has been updated to reflect that Pam Wiznitzer left Gibson + Luce before its closure.