An SUV crashed into Journeyman, a Union Square restaurant, Saturday night, smashing in the brick facade and forcing the restaurant to close for at least two to three weeks.
No one was hurt in the incident, according to owners Meg Grady-Troia and Tse Wei Lim, who is also the chef along with his wife, Diana Kudaarova.
Had the SUV crashed five minutes earlier, if could have hit patrons who were leaving the restaurant, they said.
Journeyman, known for its innovative dishes and ever-changing tasting menus, is tucked away on Sanborn Court, an alley in Union Square, and has received numerous accolades since it opened in 2010. With only a small sign advertising its presence, it has the slight aura of a Prohibition era speakeasy—a place frequented only by people who know it's there.
The front of the restaurant, where the SUV hit, houses a floor-to-ceiling vertical herb garden, with trays of herbs shelved on metal scaffolding. Had it not been for that scaffolding, damage to the building could have been much worse.
"The garden is literally holding up the roof right now," said Grady-Troia.
The incident occurred at about 11:20 on Saturday night as the evening's last diners were getting ready to leave. The driver of the SUV said his foot slipped on the accelerator, according to Lim and Grady-Troia. They said the driver was not under the influence of alcohol.
The SUV hit one of the support piers that holds up the brick facade, they said.
The accident buckled the facade inward and, at one place, punched through brick wall entirely.
While hoping to open in two to three weeks, Lim and Grady-Troia are still assessing the extent of the damage, both structurally and financially. The kitchen, which is at the back of the restaurant, was not damaged, and most of the dining area seemed to be undamaged.