“Best restaurant in the world” El Bulli to close for two years

Dedicated foodies with dreams of dining at El Bulli, long considered to be one of the best (and often the best) restaurants in the world, are in for some disappointment. The mecca of molecular gastronomy will be closing for two years, in 2012 and 2013.

The restaurant, which is located on the Catalan coast of Spain and has received the coveted Michelin 3-star rating, was named the best restaurant in the world for the fourth straight year by Britain’s Restaurant magazine and is considered to be one the places any food-lover must dine at before dying. Chef Ferran Adria assured devoted fans that though El Bulli will close temporarily, it isn’t gone for good. He did say that there may be some major changes in store though. “In 2014, we will serve food somehow. I don’t know if it will be for one guest or 1,000,” he said.

What’s the reason behind the closure? The Guardian cites Adria as saying that the long hours – he regularly puts in 15-hour days – were getting to him. Though Adria has also said before that El Bulli is not a profitable business, due to the limited seatings and the labor required to do each one. Perhaps the new model will be a better moneymaker.

Thinking you can try to get in before El Bulli shuts its doors? Think again. Seatings for 2010 have already sold out, so unless you are extremely well connected, you’re out of luck. Not that you had much chance of getting a seat anyways. The restaurant only serves 50 guests per night, six months out of the year, and according the UK Guardian, more than 2 million people have vied for a mere 8,000 seats over the past few years.

New York’s Tavern on the Green shuts its doors, temporarily

The iconic Central Park restaurant, Tavern on the Green, closed its doors on January 1. The restaurant, which opened in 1936 and was known more for its ambiance and history than for its cuisine, went out with a bang with a 1,500-person party on New Year’s Eve. But the restaurant won’t be gone forever; new owners will be taking over, renovating the building, and eventually reopening.

Tavern on the Green’s most recent owners began having financial problems after losing a bidding war for the lease to Dean Poll, who owns the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. The owners have since filed for bankruptcy and will be auctioning off the fixtures and supplies of the restaurant before transferring ownership to Poll, who is expected to invest $25 million in renovations and updates to the restaurant, including installing green technology to make the building more eco-friendly.

While this isn’t the first time the restaurant has changed hands, it’s the first time the new space might not be called Tavern on the Green. It seems the name was trademarked in 1981 and has been valued at $19 million. Poll has registered the name Tavern in Park with the city as a backup, should the original name not be available for use.

[via CNN]

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge closed indefinitely

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be closed indefinitely while crews repair an upper-deck cable that snapped during rush-hour on Tuesday evening. According to the AP, the broken cable and a chunk of bridge metal fell onto the westbound lanes, damaging at least one vehicle.

The cable that snapped was put in last month to repair a crack that was discovered over Labor Day weekend. While the issue is repaired, other forms of transportation will double up their efforts to keep people moving on trains and ferries.

The snapped wire could be a sign of more repair work to come, though. As quoted in the Los Angeles Daily News, a civil engineering professor at UCLA Berkeley called the initial crack a “warning sign” of more problems. He said the repair was really just a Band-Aid and “demonstrates the need for a longer-term solution.” The bridge is 73 years old and carries around 260,000 people each day.

Say ‘arrivederci’ to cars in Florence’s Piazza Duomo

It’s a given — any visit to the main piazza in Florence means being among a crowd. But thanks to a decision by the city’s mayor Matteo Renzi, visitors will soon get a little breather (literally and figuratively).

Starting October 25, cars, buses, and even horse-drawn carriages will be banned from the popular nucleus of activity near the Duomo and Baptistry.

The reason is to reduce the carbon monoxide (2.6 tons) and fine particulate (450 kilos) in the area — bad for both lungs and the walls of the light-colored cathedral. The number of buses making rounds daily through the area will be reduced by 500 — from 2,740 to 2,200.

The people least likely to celebrate the change? Taxi drivers, of course. That just means more space for you and I to dance for joy at the celebratory open-air concert on October 25th.

And if the mayor’s decision just happens to extend the length of space available for a good stroll — the lovely passegiata — I say ‘grazie’ to that.