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River Cafe Pays City $5,536 in Rent, Charges $125 for Dinner

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In a Post piece today about a potential community face off involving the pricey waterfront restaurant River Cafe in Dumbo, reporter Rich Calder mentions that the 33 year-old restaurant pays just $5,536 a month in the rent to the city, just slightly more than what the tiny Ray's Candy Store on Avenue A is made to fork over every 30 days. The figure is three and a half times a number quoted last spring (back when the owner wanted to sue the city for damage caused from that waterfall exhibition); but regardless, it's interesting that in an environment of astronomical rents that have only been slightly tempered by the recession these kinds of sweetheart deals still exist. Of course the lease, which extends until 2025, was signed at a time when Dumbo was desolate, the city on the verge of bankruptcy.

Too bad the discount isn't passed on to the customers—the prix fixe is $98, the tasting menu $125.

Oh and that community face off? The restaurant wants a cabaret license to allow live music and dancing while locals fear "the restaurant won't kick concession revenues toward the under-funded, long-delayed Brooklyn Bridge Park project next door."
· River Café song 'n' dance [NYP]

The River Café

1 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 522-5200 Visit Website

The River Cafe

1 Water St., Brooklyn, NY