Friday, February 19, 2016
Report: Higher rent helped doom Nino's; owner wants to open another pizzeria in the East Village
[EVG photo from yesterday]
On Wednesday, the signs on the door at Nino's stating that the pizzeria would reopen were removed... along with the help wanted signs...
As reported on Tuesday, owner Nino Camaj accepted a low six-figure amount to walk away from his remaining 10-year lease and surrender his longtime space on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place.
Nino's had to close on Oct. 21 due to a gas leak in the building. On Nov. 17, the pizzeria was hit with an eviction notice. Camaj has said that the gas was shut off in the building without any notice to him.
In late November, Camaj's lawyers were reportedly in discussion with landlord Citi Urban Management to dispute the rent charged for the month during which they had to close due to the gas leak. However, a Citi Urban representative at the time told Bedford + Bowery that Nino owed rent for previous months — not just for the month without gas.
DNAinfo spoke briefly with Camaj, who said that he could no longer afford the $14,500 monthly rent. "I’m not making any money before I closed," he told DNAinfo in a story published yesterday. "I’m breaking even."
Camaj said that the rent for the corner space was $3,500 when he opened in 1989. (Nino sold the business in 2012, which produced a short-lived pizzeria. He returned and reopened Nino's in July 2013.)
Camaj told DNAinfo that he would like to continue running a pizzeria in the East Village — if he can find a more affordable location.
Meanwhile, James Morrissey, who owns The Late Late on East Houston, had been after the Nino's space to combine with the former Hop Devil Grill next door to create The Honey Fitz, a destination serving a grab-and-go breakfast in the morning along with high-end cocktails by night... with WiFi and printers for freelancers and others to use during the day.
However, facing a denial for a liquor license from CB3's SLA committee on Tuesday night, The Honey Fitz team withdrew their proposal for the time being.
Morrissey said Wednesday that he "remains interested in the location, assuming all outstanding lease issues have been resolved," per DNAinfo.
Previously on EV Grieve:
The Honey Fitz in the works for St. Mark's Place and Avenue A (54 comments)
Gas leak closes Nino's for now
Nino's and Yoshi Sushi served with eviction notices on Avenue A
Encouraging signs at Nino's
Report: The Honey Fitz on hold; and RIP Nino's