Michel Richard Essentially Closes Villard Michel Richard

The New York bistro goes breakfast-only while determining the next step.

Will chef Michel Richard return full time to Washington? Photograph by Scott Suchman

Will Michel Richard return permanently to Washington? That was our first thought upon seeing Eater New York’s news that the lauded DC toque has closed Villard Michel Richard for all but breakfast.

The swanky restaurant inside the New York Palace Hotel debuted in October, reminiscent of both Central and Cintronelle with a more casual bistro for lobster burgers and a dinner-only gallery serving elaborate tasting menus. Despite a star-studded opening party attended by Daniel Boulud and Martha Stewart, the initial round of reviews from the likes of New York magazine and New York Times ranged from cool to downright scathing. Richard began scaling back by closing the Gallery in May, followed by the most recent departure from lunch and dinner in the bistro. Pomme Palais, his counter-order eatery in the hotel, remains open as usual.

“Michel Richard and the New York Palace hotel team will continue their collaboration as they re-envision the restaurant’s concept and next steps,” says the hotel’s general manager, David Chase, in a statement to Washingtonian.

It remains unclear whether this means a new Richard concept for the Palace, a potential focus on opening another restaurant in Washington, or neither. Richard told us at Villard’s opening party that he plans to open “a nice place in DC,” but as we saw in the span of nine short months, everything can change.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.