Fäviken, the acclaimed Swedish restaurant that is surrounded by some 20,000 acres of farmland, has been called the world’s most isolated restaurant. That title, though, will go to a different eatery in December, because chef Magnus Nilsson has announced that he will be closing Fäviken before the end of the year.
"I've always known that Fäviken was not going to be forever," he told the Los Angeles Times. "That's not really a revelation, because it applies to all restaurants and all businesses and really everything.” That’s true, in an existential way, but his decision to close Fäviken is surprising, all the same.
On April 1, Fäviken opened its reservations calendar for the next nine-ish months, and within a few hours, every possible seat on every possible day had been accounted for. (There are only 24 seats in the restaurant, but still—there could be ten times that many and it would likely still be booked solid.) And according to Nilsson, a full calendar is exactly what he wanted before saying farväl. “You don't want people to be all crazy,” he said.
In the past decade, Nilsson and Fäviken have been honored with two Michelin stars, made appearances on The Mind of a Chef and Chef’s Table, and has somehow found enough time to write three cookbooks, start a family, and become an acclaimed photographer. It’s hard to convey exactly how impressively driven Nilsson is: His beyond-comprehensive The Nordic Cookbook took more than three years to complete, and involved traveling to the seven Nordic countries—and yeah, he took the photos that accompany its 700-ish recipes.
“I did a count and there are about 50 recipes in the book that are going to be very hard to reproduce," he told VICE at the time. "But they still need to be in there to give context and explain the cultural phenomena. There are 680 left that don't contain reindeer or puffin or anything like that."
So why is Fäviken closing? Because Nilsson believes it’s time. "In every strategic way, this is not a wise decision," he said. "But what's the reason that someone runs a restaurant like Fäviken? Because you want to; it's entirely driven by passion [...] For the first time ever, I woke up and didn't want to go to work."
In a post on Instagram, he wrote that he’s tired and ready to do...a lot of things that don’t involve Fäviken. “I am going to spend time with my family, reflect, fish, garden, write, rest and get fit, both physically and mentally,” he explained. He also said that speaking with the Times is pretty much the one and only time he’s going to talk about the restaurant, what he’s accomplished there in the past ten years, or what’s going to happen between now and the restaurant’s final day.
At least there’s plenty of time to figure out what the next most isolated restaurant will be.