Is Bourdain Market Turning into the Chinese Democracy of Food Halls?

Anthony Bourdain’s Top 5 New York City Restaurants
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What’s up with Anthony Bourdain’s forthcoming New York City food hall? Wouldn’t you like to know. No, seriously. Wouldn’t any of us like to know! News first broke that the iconoclastic chef was planning a massive Singapore street food-inspired, international food hall for an undisclosed Manhattan location way back in the early days of 2014. Here we are over three years later, and the latest news we have for the now eponymously-named concept, Bourdain Market, is that its CEO and co-developer Stephen Werther has just stepped down. It’s the latest setback for the highly-anticipated project that seems to be struggling to get beyond the “anticipated” stage.

Anthony Bourdain is clearly a busy man so if he had just been putzing around with this whole food hall idea, we’d be happy to cut him some slack. But what makes the trials and tribulations of Bourdain Market so frustrating is that opening dates have been proposed and then passed on multiple occasions. In January 2015, a Wall Street Journal article suggested the market would be open as soon as later that year. But by April, Werther floated a new date to The Business Times: early 2016. In May 2015, things seemed to firm up a bit, as Pier 57 was named as the location. However, by June 2016, Bourdain pushed the opening back to 2019 – the date that now appears on the official Bourdain Market website.

But though the food hall has a website, you may be surprised by one thing it doesn’t have… a lease. Along with the recent announcement that Werther will be cutting ties with the market, Eater also reports that its sources say the no one has actually signed a lease with the developers behind the aforementioned Pier 57 (despite the fact that Pier 57 is listed as the location on the market’s now seemingly presumptive website). Eater’s sources even suggest that the developers are have been concerned enough with the market’s prospects that they’ve been talking to other food market owners as potential backup tenants.

As for Werther, though he is officially out, no new CEO has been announced. “I'm definitely more interested in traveling and eating at this point in my life than I am in plumbing and ventilation,” he said in a statement when stepping down.