After nearly six years, Newtown favourite Hartsyard has announced it’s closing. American chef Gregory Llewellyn and his Australian wife Naomi Hart want to take a new direction with the restaurant next year.

“I think a change should always be in the back of your brain. You have to be constantly evolving. We’ve always felt like [that] in Sydney and in this restaurant game,” says Llewellyn.

The deep fryer – which has pumped out more fried chicken than Llewellyn ever thought possible – will be swapped out for a new charcoal grill and a smaller, more curated menu featuring only 10 dishes. Llewellyn says he wants to serve contemporary comfort food.

“It’s the food I really like to cook and what, I hope, people will want to eat. I love cooking with vegetables and they will really be on show, alongside seafood and duck,” he says, adding the drinks list is getting a revamp, too.

The change means the end of Hartsyard’s trademark fried chicken, pulled pork and lamb ribs, though Llewellyn says these customer favourites may still make a cameo.

“With the chicken, people are doing it, but not how we were doing it. The chicken was one of the nearest and dearest to me and it makes sense to put that effort into other things,” he says.

Along with the menu, the 36-seater space will undergo a redesign. New art, furniture and a floor polish will open it up for a brighter and lighter look. “It’ll be fresher and will change all the time. One thing that’s provoked this decision is it’s so easy to look at things in your business that do well, that give you comfort, and not change, and that’s why I’m doing it.

“It’ll still be the same place, just an updated version of Hartsyard; a Hartsyard 2.0.”

Hartsyard will be taking its last orders on December 23 this year. That mean’s there’s only four weeks left to book your table.

Hartsyard 2.0 will reopen for business again in early January 2018.

hartsyard.com.au