When Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield opened the Spotted Pig back in 2004, it represented an important moment in New York’s dining scene. Now, as Bloomfield prepares to exit, the Spotted Pig is again a signpost of an era in restaurants, but this time for wholly negative reasons.
The Spotted Pig was a stripped-down gastropub where the food was excellent, but the prices not astronomical. Along with places like Momofuku, it ushered in a new era of eating that questioned the norms of fine dining. Despite its aesthetics, the Spotted Pig earned a Michelin star in 2005 (which it lost in 2016) and copycats followed. In 2018, the restaurant is having an impact on the industry again, as a poster boy of bad behavior in the #MeToo era.
Last December, the New York Times reported extensive allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct by Friedman. Those revelations are what prompted Bloomfield to set in motion dissolving the duo’s business partnership, which she announced the details of today.
The success of the Spotted Pig had allowed them to build multi-city restaurant empire. In New York they had White Gold Butcher, the Breslin, John Dory Oyster Bar, and Salvation Taco (which has recently left their control and has been taken over by Alex Stupak of Empellon). In San Francisco they acquired the historic dive bar, Tosca, and turned it into a successful restaurant. And late last year they opened their first LA restaurant, Hearth and the Hound, right before revelations of alleged misconduct by Friedman came to light.
The two will divide up their holdings, and in the agreement, April Bloomfield will leave the restaurant that made her famous, the Spotted Pig. In her statement to the media she wrote:
Today, I am announcing the end of my partnership with Ken Friedman. There is much hard work ahead, and it begins with taking full leadership of The Hearth & Hound in Los Angeles and Tosca Café in San Francisco. In New York, I remain chef at The Breslin and will begin work on re-concepting The John Dory Oyster Bar. My complete focus now is on the welfare of and opportunity for my staff and building a company I can be proud of. This has been a painful time for many people, my past and present staff especially, and I will have more to say at some point in the near future. For now, I look forward to forging ahead.