The announcement was made via Twitter from the manager and namesake, and confirmed by McIndoe to Playbill.com.
Snuggled up against the west side of the St. James Theatre, "Angus'," as it has been known, was launched Dec. 13, 2001, a few months after the opening of The Producers at that theatre, with financial backing from that show's star, Nathan Lane, among others. McIndoe had made a name for himself working at the Theatre Row eatery Joe Allen, and the new spot became a clubhouse for Lane, his co-star Matthew Broderick, and their show business circle. The kitchen served a variety of bistro food.
It attracted the cream of Broadway insiders, and earned a thrilling note of scandal in 2005 when New York Post columnist Michael Riedel was knocked (some say pushed) to the floor after a verbal tiff with director David Leveaux, whose work Riedel had insulted.
In an exclusive interview with Playbill.com, the bistro's namesake and manager gave a one-word reason for the closing: "Landlord," meaning the rent had increased beyond his ability to pay. "It's a very volatile business." McIndoe said his cell phone "exploded" with well-wishers and say-it-ain't-so-ers after he tweeted about the closing on Jan. 2.
Asked whether it was hard to see the loss of a restaurant that bears his name, McIndoe said, "The irony is that naming it after myself was my biggest mistake. I wanted people to know who was in charge, like Elaine Kaufman of Elaine's, but there is another restaurant [the Black Angus Steakhouse chain], and it was confusing for people. I've spend the last 15 years explaining to people that we're not a steakhouse—although we do serve pretty good steaks."
The Glasgow-born McIndoe said his favorite celebrity story happens to involve the appearance of a non-theatre personality. "[Jazz and blues singer] Tom Waits was playing a benefit on the third floor, and asked if he could bring in his piano. I was worried about how we were going to get a piano up to the third floor, but it turned out it was just a keyboard. He sang not one but two songs. I was in the midst of a court case with my landlord at the time and not feeling so great, but when Tom Waits played in my bar, I thought, whatever else I've had to deal with, this will have made it all worth while."
Angus' is the third Broadway landmark to go out of business in the last few days, following the closings of Toys R Us Dec. 30 and Frankie & Johnnie's Steakhouse Dec. 26.
Here is the announcement tweet, below:
Plz stop in to say goodbye before we close our doors permanently after dinner Sun Jan 3. Thank you for 15 never dull yrs! -A
— cafe ANGUS' bistro (@angusmcindoe) January 2, 2016
As for the future, McIndoe said, "After I take a little vacation and think about it a bit, I might be back [with a new restaurant elsewhere]. Theatre people are the most interesting people in New York City."