P.Y.T., Josef Centeno’s vegetable-centric downtown L.A. restaurant, is scheduled to close next week.
“P.Y.T. wasn’t on the market, but I got a great offer from an operator that I feel will complement the corner,” Centeno said in an email; he declined to say whom the new tenant will be. “It wasn’t necessarily an easy choice, but I believe it is a smart business move.”
Centeno — who also runs Baco Mercat, Orsa & Winston and Bar Ama at or near the intersection of 4th and Main streets, along with Bäcoshop in Culver City — opened P.Y.T. in late 2016. He said although P.Y.T. was successful, he worried about the changing restaurant landscape and juggling five restaurants.
“As well-received as P.Y.T. has been, there’s only so much you can charge for a turnip,” he said. “And prepping and cooking vegetables is labor-intensive.”
Centeno said he will incorporate much of the vegetable-focused cooking he’s doing at P.Y.T. into the menu at Orsa & Winston, his Japanese-Italian restaurant just down the street. He also plans to start making all weekend pastries there as well.
At one point, Centeno was opening a restaurant a year, which he said was “at the time, the right thing to do.” Now, it’s “the right time to consolidate and recalibrate.”
P.Y.T.’s tomatillo-infused vodka martinis, chef’s salads constructed with 12 or more different vegetables, and salt-crusted whole turnips made the restaurant a haven for plant-based and meat-eating diners.
The restaurant is in escrow now, and Centeno said he had offered positions to P.Y.T. employees at his other restaurants. If all goes as planned, the last night of service will be March 7.