By Jennifer Calfas
April 27, 2017

The high-end restaurant located inside President Donald Trump’s hotel in SoHo in New York City is closing after it saw a decline in business following the 2016 election.

Koi, a posh restaurant known for its sushi topped with caviar and gold flakes, is closing by June 19 for economic reasons, according to the New York Department of Labor.

“We’ve decided not to continue with our lease because business has been down,” Suzanne Chou, Koi Group’s general counsel, told MONEY. “Beyond that, I prefer not to speculate as to why, but I’m sure there’s a whole host of reasons.”

Chou said business at the restaurant has declined over the last year — particularly the last several months. Despite not having good business while in Trump SoHo, the restaurant group is still looking to relocate elsewhere in Manhattan. Chou said they have not chosen a specific neighborhood yet, but “are definitely still interested in New York — particularly the Downtown area.”

The restaurant is expected to shut down by June 19.

Once a spot for celebrities like the Kardashians to dine, the restaurant — owned by Koi Group, not Trump — appears to have suffered as a result of Trump’s reputation among some New Yorkers and celebrities. In December, the Cleveland Cavaliers refused to stay in Trump SoHo while they were in town to play the New York Knicks.

Since Trump was elected, some of his opponents have boycotted companies and businesses associated with his brand — even if, like Koi, they aren’t owned by him. And in an effort to attract more renters, some businesses removed Trump’s name from apartment buildings after he was elected. (About 79% of New York City residents voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, according to DNAinfo.)

The restaurant has occupied Trump SoHo since 2012, though it no longer appears on the company’s website. Still, Koi’s other location in Manhattan — at the Bryant Park Hotel — is “alive and thriving,” Chou said. That location was New York’s first for the restaurant chain and opened in 2005.

Trump SoHo told MONEY the hotel has enjoyed its partnership with Koi and is exploring several different options for other restaurants to fill the space.

Restaurant employees interviewed by Grub Street attributed the decline in business at the restaurant to Trump — citing fewer employees working there, a drop in wages and fewer patrons.

“Before Trump won, we were doing great,” Jonathan Grullon, a busser and host at the restaurant, told Grub Street. “There were a lot of people we had, our regulars, who’d go to the hotel but are not affiliated with Trump. And they were saying if he wins, we are not coming here anymore.”

 

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