End of a (Short) Era: Morton’s Closes in Downtown BK

Yesterday afternoon several readers got in touch to let us know that the Downtown Brooklyn location of Morton’s the Steakhouse had shut down, and the news was confirmed by a woman who answered the phone at the restaurant. As the Brooklyn Paper notes, the chain was recently purchased by the Texas-based company Landry’s Inc.. The firm has abruptly closed a few other Morton’s locations, including restaurants in Boston and Atlanta. Here’s what a Landry’s spokeswoman had to say about the Brooklyn shuttering (emphasis ours): “Over time, demographics shift and so do the areas in which businesses thrive and it’s because of this that we must close the Morton’s location in Brooklyn. We will continue to operate Morton’s The Steakhouse in Manhattan on 5th Ave. and White Plains on Maple Ave and look forward to serving our guests at these locations.” Morton’s opened to a great deal of fanfare on Adams Street in late 2008. Does the closing cast a pall on the retail renaissance in Downtown? Not according to a statement from the disinterested parties at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: “While it is a sad day for Downtown Brooklyn, there is a still a strong appetite for dining options in the district. A dozen restaurants opened in the area in 2011, nine more coming this year, and Downtown Brooklyn property owners get calls daily from eateries interested in space.” Exhibit A: The thriving Shake Shake steps away from the Morton’s location.
Over, Done: Morton’s Closes [BK Paper] GMAP
Photo by Yogma

41 Comment

  • daveinbedstuy

    Never went but from what I heard it was a dump. There are better steak places in NYC.

    • Drrty

      That’s BS, Morton’s was quite nice with good steaks and friendly staff.

      The closing is quite surprising. Lots of their customers came from the Marriot hotel and locals.

      • I agree. Morton’s was a great place for me while I was studying at the nearby law school. Granted, I never had their regular menu, but after a long day of studying, I really liked going there to grab a $7 martini (which is a great deal) and the little filet mignon sandwiches.

        The staff too were all really cool — many of whom had been working there since it opened.

        Morton’s was probably ahead of its time given the location, and it’s a shame that Corporate couldnt hold out much longer as the area really is getting better.

        No idea what restaurant will replace it. But, I’d be pretty pissed if it’s any of the crap you find in the suburbs (Morton’s, while expensive, still falls somewhere in the middle in that regard).

  • daveinbedstuy

    Never went but from what I heard it was a dump. There are better steak places in NYC.

  • Dug up a Peter Luger’s picture for a steak post, eh? Morton’s is a great steakhouse, but this location was terrible.

  • This is a great space in a year, when there will be a restaurant row on this block of Adams and will command more traffic from the Heights and from the Hotel Row (4th Hotel is going up soon). The longer play is of course when there are two new gigantic highrises bringing in another few thousand residents, this space will be very valuable as a restaurant.

  • Very much agree with Trolley D.

    Morton’s didn’t have enough dinner business….
    Bar was expensive but active, lunch good

  • No one from the Heights goes over there. They just don’t. Easier to hop a cab and go to Manhattan.

  • No one from the Heights goes over there. They just don’t. Easier to hop a cab and go to Manhattan.

  • good location next year. Mortons was the wrong kind of restaurant. How about something interesting or unique?

  • Not sure whats going to happen here – an ordinary lease would have had Morton’s Inc responsible for the life of the lease (which had to be more than 3 yrs), and presumably the obligation under the lease passed to the new buyers (Landry) so in an ordinary course of events I would expect to see Landry open up another one of its brands in this location.
    The only other possibility (raised by the abrupt closing of this restaurant immediately upon change in ownership) could be that Morton’s somehow got a clause in their leases that says in the event of a sale of the parent, the lease can be terminated. It would be an odd provision but supported by the odd facts.

    • It’s entirely possible that Morton’s lease did have such a clause; it’s pretty common for large corporate chains to add it to commercial leases. Also common is the “good guy” clause allowing companies that default on their lease (for whatever reason) to get out of the balance of the lease once they vacate the premises – gives the tenant an incentive to get out rather than waiting to be evicted.

  • P.F.Chang’s? Cheesecake Factory?

  • Nobody traveling/ staying at the Marriott wants to eat at a chain restaurant they saw in their in-flight magazine. Too many other options around and too few expense accounts allowing for their spendy steak dinners.

  • The 800 pound Gorilla in the room is the stadium. A decent steakhouse closer to Atlantic Yards may do quite well a year from now, as opposed to the microwave food served at Applebees and the like.

    Downtown Brooklyn simply doesn’t have much of power lunch business crowd, willing to shell out $200+ every other day.

  • Agreed, this would do well as a PF Chang’s or something else mid-market. Nothing wrong with a expensive resto here, plenty of wealthy lawyers, judges and finance types in metrotech.

  • daveinbedstuy

    fsrq, corporations don’t sign leases broadly like you describe. The individual business signs the lease as a separate legal entity. That way, when it closes or goes bankrupt, it walks away from the lease and the landlord can only sue the individual entity.

    not saying that landry or morton’s is walking out of it but they certainly could.

  • daveinbedstuy

    If you’re going out for an expensive steak dinner like this, you don’t typically take the subway to and from unless it’s ultra convenient.

    i’ll be at Sparks tonight and you can be sure I’m not taking the subway home after that!!!!!

  • I see this location (including the departed Morton’s) as being the place you go when you check into the Marriott at 8pm after traveling for 12 hours straight and know you have the rest of the week to head into Manhattan for some adventure. There are many flight crews that are put up in the Marriott and I would expect that they just want a quick, decent meal before grabbing some sleep. And with new hotels opening in the area I can only see this growing as a profitable location for a mid-market chain restaurant catering to the ‘too-tired-to-give-a-damn’ visitor at night and the expense account lunch set by day.

  • This place was sleepy and mediocre, although the bar looked popular with a certain set. The food was so-so, the waiters were ok, but forced into stupid little passion plays about the haughty, one-step-past fast-food menu. They had a fresh- scrubbed, almost Moonie air about them. The decor was mall-airport lounge. Did I mention overpriced?

  • I moved to the area two years ago and also frequented the bar for their power hour. The $7 Manhattans, and bar bites were good and it was great to have something within walking distance. The regular menu was a bit too pricey, but I will miss the bar.

  • DIBS not in my experience, which I am fairly certain is far broader in this area than yours.

  • DIBS not in my experience, which I am fairly certain is far broader in this area than yours.

  • Agree that it was a yr or two before the right time. Too bad it’s closed, but don’t thing that will slow down the downtown emergence.

  • Too bad! I’ve only been there a few times, but I did enjoy it!

  • As someone who has resided in Brooklyn her entire life, I loved Morton’s at this location. Sad to see it go. The waitstaff was nice and the food was fine.I hope it doesn’t meet the fate of Gage & Tollner, another great eatery which has now become the location of a gaudy jewelry store. Morton’s will be missed by many.

  • As someone who has resided in Brooklyn her entire life, I loved Morton’s at this location. Sad to see it go. The waitstaff was nice and the food was fine.I hope it doesn’t meet the fate of Gage & Tollner, another great eatery which has now become the location of a gaudy jewelry store. Morton’s will be missed by many.