033108colors.jpgColors, the feel-good restaurant on Lafayette Street owned and operated by Windows on the World employees who were spared on 9/11, is reportedly back from the brink of ruin. The fine dining restaurant opened two years ago as one of New York’s few cooperative restaurants, with everyone from busboys to chefs sharing ownership and a menu featuring international cuisine created by the multi-ethnic staff.

Though Colors did well during the first burst of publicity, business ultimately slowed to a crawl as the cooperative decision making process proved ineffective and high prices deterred diners. Last year they often struggled to pay the $20,000 rent, employees went unpaid for weeks, and closure seemed inevitable. But today the AP reports that Christopher Faulkner, a new chef brought in last November, has turned things around. Workers also agreed to a pay cut, lowering the minimum wage from $13.50 to $9.45 an hour, and entrée prices have been dropped out of the prohibitive $40 range.

Now Colors is back in the black and Faulkner sees the restaurant as a symbol of renewal: “This is one of the good things left after 9/11. People are tired of hearing about death and victims. Colors is about food, nurturing, and life.”

Photo courtesy John Mariani