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Restaurants Fear Going From “Closed” to “Space for Lease” By July

April 10, 2020

Chefs and restaurateurs are relying increasingly on the kindness of landlords as gaps in the government stimulus plan become more obvious.

Caffe Dante West Village was supposed to be one of New York’s major spring 2020 openings. It was an outpost of Dante, the Greenwich Village hangout that had been crowned the Best Bar in the World in 2019 by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. Its owner, Linden Pride, had spent 18 months and more than $1.6 million building the 74-seat restaurant in anticipation of welcoming its first paying guests on March 16.

But when Andrew Cuomo requested density control measures on March 15, Pride realized a formal opening was out of the question. He immediately sent an email to his landlord, William Gottlieb Real Estate, asking to negotiate the terms of his rent.
Simply put, he didn’t have enough money to pay it—for March or April. “We put everything of our savings into the buildout of the new restaurant,” Pride says. “We got to the starting line with enough money in the bank to pay the first week’s payroll and suppliers.”

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