And one final piece of unfortunate restaurant news as we wrap up 2012. After a four and a half year run, Stiller's
is shutting its doors come year's end.
Chef / owner Stefan Stiller cites several reasons for the closure. Most immediately, the lease was up for renewal at the end of the year, and the landlord wanted more money (pretty typical story this year). He makes a broader point as well: the uncertain economic situation much of the world seems to be facing. Restaurants like Stiller's rely a great deal on the expense account crowd, businesses with entertainment budgets. And this year, they just weren't spending their money.
Or perhaps they just weren't spending their money at Stiller's. The Michelin-starred German chef also points out that "during 2012 Shanghai faced a lot of new restaurant openings." At least four of them were high-profile, high-end openings like 8 1/2
, Colagreco, Mercato
-- all arguably direct competitors in a far more heavily trafficked part of the Bund. The Cool Docks
, on the other hand, has struggled to draw a crowd since its opening, even though it is just down the street from the Bund proper.
Whatever the case, if you ask me, the city's dining scene has suffered a sad loss with this closure. Stiller's really was one of the better restaurants in town. His food was always excellent, the service impeccable. Not only that, the views of Lujiazui and the Huangpu were pretty tough to beat.
Nevertheless, Stiller is not packing up and leaving. He intends to keep the sixth-floor cooking school open. That's still generating plenty of revenue for the company. In addition, he's got a new concept in Hangzhou called Cocotte, which prepares and serves all of its food in the eponymous cooking vessel. That's in soft opening mode right now.
Stiller also did plenty of consultation work on the side, and he says he'll continue with that. As for any new Shanghai restaurant concepts in the works, nothing yet, and I'd say, for now at least, don't hold your breath.