Don’t pour out that sangria just yet.
Last week, we brought word that Francisco’s Centro Vasco had suddenly closed after 38 years in Chelsea, bringing down the curtains on one of the city’s remaining old-school Spanish spots. A note on the door informed customers that the closure would be permanent, and owner Javier Quintans told DNAinfo that he planned to sell the restaurant space and the building. The obligatory Jeremiah’s Vanishing eulogy followed.
But, like the closing/not closing of Great Jones Cafe, rumors of Francisco’s’ demise were greatly exaggerated. Today, a new note on the door informs passersby that “we will reopen our restaurant soon. Thank you!” A similar message posted yesterday to the restaurant’s Facebook page assures old-timers that the throwback taberna “will be as it was in the same location.” (Presumably, those monster lobster claws will still be hanging above the bar, and a velvet rope will still separate the barroom from the dining room.) The announcement immediately garnered comments such as: “Wonderful news. I told my husband about the last post and we both cried. Look forward to visiting soon.”
We haven’t yet been able to get in touch with Quintans to learn more about the reversal of fortune, but DNAinfo reported that he “had second thoughts after hearing from disappointed customers and discussing the matter with family members and workers.”
Meanwhile, over on 14th Street, another old-school Spanish spot is in the midst of transition. La Nacional, the beloved restaurant of the Spanish Benevolent Society, closed a little over a year ago. At the time, it announced that it would get a “stylish and contemporary makeover” and transition into a “community restaurant” featuring guest visits from some of Spain’s “best young chefs.” In June, the restaurant launched a fundraiser that has now brought in over $30,000. You can learn more about that here and hear more about the new place in the video below.
Update, 1:10pm: The original version of this post was revised to include information from DNAinfo story’s about the reopening.