New York has been mourning the loss of wd~50—the cutting-edge, modernist restaurant run by Wylie Dufresne—since it shuttered late last year to make way for an apartment complex. “Wylie put his heart and soul on Clinton Street, and really brought it to life,” says Dufresne’s wife, Maile Carpenter, in TIME’s new documentary. She adds, “And that very thing, in a weird way, is the reason it’s closing.”
The short film, titled “The Last Days of wd~50,” captures the magic and chaos of it all while showing reactions from industry workers and media folks (in addition to Wylie’s own dad). It also shows the restaurant’s final days of service. It was reported that $41,000 worth of tickets were sold for the final few meals at wd~50.
In the film, cocktail master Dave Arnold explains, “Wylie is the guy who wants to understand how and why things happen… The core of what he is is constant driving towards a new idea.”
Wd~50 chef de cuisine Sam Henderson comments, “It’s extraordinary that they’re going to tear this down to build an apartment building. But, you know, it’s New York.”
What’s Wylie doing now? “My role has changed,” says the chef in TIME’s new short. “At one point, i needed to be the star player, but i don’t need to do that anymore.”
Wylie helms the kitchen at his modernist East Village gastropub Alder, where you can get octopus pancakes, a killer brunch, and a burger topped with beer cheese. The chef also has plans to open a restaurant in the Financial District in early 2016. We’ll be there, anxiously waiting for the doors to open and to see what Wylie comes up with next.