After ten years in the Pearl District, Irving Street Kitchen, a sprawling industrial restaurant that focused on casual Southern food and community events, has joined the list of restaurants that have permanently closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an emailed statement, chef Sarah Schafer and partner Anna Caporael attributed the closure to both the pandemic and a dispute with their landlord. “We had been in discussions with our landlord and unfortunately reached an impasse,” it reads. “This, combined with the implications stemming from COVID-19, made the restaurant no longer viable.”
Irving Street Kitchen opened in 2010 in the model of the Pearl’s fine-dining style, with multiple-course dinners and cocktail and wine programs. In 2019, the duo restructured the kitchen for more casual dining, focusing on fried chicken bucket dinners and events like pop-ups and kitchen takeovers. In March of 2020 it closed in accordance with the governor’s response to the pandemic, but the partners opted against takeout or delivery. Now, more than two months later, they have decided the premise of reopening isn’t feasible.
Despite the closing, Schafer and Caporael’s statement was largely positive. “Irving Street had an exciting 10 year run, serving our great city and community,” it reads. “We are proud of all we accomplished with our team there and are hopeful the fried chicken might materialize in a new form elsewhere in the future.” The restaurant’s popular fried chicken won’t find a place in Cooperativa, the food hall and marketplace from the ISK team, but the email does say that the restaurant’s butterscotch pudding will definitely make an appearance. Cooperativa is set to open in mid-July.
Updated, June 4, 12:05 p.m.
This story has been updated to confirm that the fried chicken won’t make an appearance at Cooperativa.