The warmly illuminated but acoustically atrocious Bowery restaurant Pulino's will close at the end of the year. The food was hit or miss, too. I ate a first rate heirloom tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella dish there that has yet to be beat anywhere, but the opening pizza menu from talented chef Nate Appleman proved underwhelming. The place, which opened in 2010, was beautiful but deafening—you practically had to shriek to be heard by the person sitting across from you.

Nate Appleman eventually left (he wound up at Chipotle!) and was replaced by Tony Liu, who introduced a rustic Italian menu. But that didn't seem to make a difference; Pulino's never caught fire the way owner Keith McNally, the highly-esteemed restaurateur who also owns hotspots like Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, Pastis, etc., hoped. In an email to Eater, he blames himself:

Through no one's fault but my own Pulino's hasn't fully worked and I've decided to change it quite radically. The restaurant will close for extended alterations the first week of January and reopen in the middle of March. It will reopen as a small French restaurant called Cherche Midi and the chefs will be Shane Mcbride (currently executive chef of Balthazar) and Daniel Parilla (currently head sous chef of Minetta Tavern). Shane will be the Executive Chef of Cherche Midi and Daniel the Chef de Cuisine. Both are extremely excited to begin on the project.

In 33 years I've never had to close a restaurant. So on the plus side I'll finally be first at something.

Keith McNally's gonna beat this thing, you guys. Light a prayer candle at your nearest house of worship. [Via Eater]