KIPS BAY — Kipsey's, a diner that aimed to bring affordable comfort food to the neighborhood, is closing its doors and transferring its lease to an Indian restaurant that will replace it, the owner said.
Arnon Magal, who opened the 438 Second Ave. diner with his wife in 2013, said Kipsey's would close shop by the end of June and would transfer the lease to the owners of Drunken Munkey, an Upper East Side Indian restaurant.
"I think we had a great run," said Magal who has been in the restaurant industry for over 8 years. "I'm proud of what we did in Kipsey's. We didn't try to be the coolest kids on the block but a simple and affordable place for the neighborhood and I believe we succeeded."
Magal made the decision to close Kipsey's six months ago because he "fell in love with the coffee scene" and wanted to focus his energy on businesses with a potential to expand, such as coffee shops with high quality brews and casual food, he said.
"Full-service restaurants take a lot of resources and in the end, [Kipsey's] wasn't profitable enough," Magal said. "It also wasn't an expandable concept and and looking forward, I want to expand. But it's never easy to close a restaurant."
Additionally, Magal said scaffolding was installed in front of the restaurant shortly after it opened in January 2013, which made it more difficult to attract customers.
"As a new business, you need exposure and the scaffolding made it difficult," he said.
Kipsey's serves American and international dishes like grilled wings, and brussel sprouts pan seared in maple and bacon broth.
Menu prices range from $6 to $17 and everything is made in house, including the mayonnaise, smoked brisket and cured salmon, the owners previously told DNAinfo.
Magal hasn't broken news of the closure to his employees, but plans to in the coming days, he said, noting that he would be transferring some of them to his other restaurants. He also hopes the owners of the new business would consider keeping some of his staff.
The menu for the new restaurant hasn't been set yet, but the owners of Drunken Munkey, which opened at 338 East 92nd St. roughly two years ago, called it "a spin-off of the uptown location with some twists and turns."
It will still serve homestyle Indian fare and classic craft cocktails. The space itself will be renovated and designed with decor inspired by Colonial British India, said Drunken Munkey owner Arun Mirchandani.
The name of the new eatery is still tentative, but the owners applied for its liquor license with the name The Wise Munkey.