It is perhaps the strangest news to hit the New York food world since the coronavirus. Mere hours after Pete Wells, the New York Times restaurant critic, raved that Outerspace was “the restaurant of the summer,” it closed its doors in East Williamsburg, with the general manager and a trio of chefs announcing they had quit.

It was a brief, strange ride for a restaurant that opened in the summer of 2020, just as the city was trying to claw its way out of the first wave of the pandemic. Molly McIver and Wells Stellberger, who had backgrounds in art and fashion, respectively (but none in food-and-beverage operations), decided to take advantage of their under-used outdoor event space called 99 Scott. They filled the patio with swaying potted plants, umbrellas, and bamboo-thatched booths.