Time Out New York holds a nice interview with Peter Hoffman on his new space and the closing of a 21 year old landmark which is being revamped. A classic. early downtown excerpt below.

You opened Savoy in Soho 1990. What was the climate of the NYC restaurant scene back then? 
Great food in New York [used to be] about French, haute cuisine. But New American food had started to happen before I opened Savoy. Larry Forgione was at An American Place and I was at Huberts on 22nd Street. We were starting to find people who were raising terrific products—oysters, radishes, morels. There was a moment in the mid-’80s when we started to say, “We’re not chasing France anymore. We have our own growers and producers and a cuisine that’s going to grow out of that.”

Soho was quite a different neighborhood then. 
It was dark and deserted at night. The glow that came out of our lamps was a beacon of comfort and safety to our neighbors. It was a complete discovery for [our earliest guests]. People would come down Prince Street and everything was dark, and they would say, “Oh my God, where are you taking me?”