We’re bummed to hear this, since Reynard has long been our favorite brunch spot in Williamsburg. Next month, the team behind the popular Chez Ma Tante will be opening a new bistro called Le Crocodile in its place at the Wythe Hotel.
Reynard, the restaurant that opened in 2012 at the Wythe Hotel, is no more. Yesterday’s brunch service was its last. Next month, the renovated space will open as Le Crocodile, a French brasserie run by Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber, co-chef-owners of Greenpoint’s Chez Ma Tante, in partnership with restaurateur Jon Neidich, whose Golden Age Hospitality group took over the hotel’s food and beverage operations in February. Neidich had long admired Chez Ma Tante, a gastropubby bistro known for its refined rusticity and destination pancakes, and after trying to entice O’Neal and Leiber to sign on to projects in Manhattan — which might as well have been Minnesota as far as the Brooklyn-based chefs were concerned — Neidich finally succeeded at the Wythe, where the trio began their collaboration last spring at Lemon’s, the hotel’s rechristened rooftop bar.
Since then, O’Neal and Leiber have been busy developing the menu for Le Crocodile, a process that entails blue-sky brainstorming about what they feel the food-saturated neighborhood most needs and what they most want to eat, fueled by jaunts to France and Italy for the jam-packed restaurant itineraries chefs like to call research. The most recent of these was over Labor Day weekend in Paris, where the three men managed to squeeze in ten spots, both ancient and modern. “Paris is effing amazing right now,” says O’Neal. “It’s some of the best food we had.”
Le Crocodile will open mid-October inside the Wythe Hotel.