The city's new batch of ramen-yas aren't the only restaurants struggling with Con Ed. Ellen Kaye waited for her gas hookup for a whole seven months at Moscow57, and that was only after the restaurant opened its doors. Kaye, whose family owned The Russian Tea Room from 1947 to 1996, says she was forced to open without gas in order to pay the bills. The team got by serving salads and a few dishes cooked on portable burners and nuked in a microwave. To keep the money coming in, Kaye, who used to work as a nightclub singer performed for her guests, and so did much of the staff. "In the beginning, it looked like we were a bar, but we were never going to be about booze. We are a restaurant first," she told Crain's.
Over those seven months, the restaurant's partners estimate that they lost $1.6 million in revenue, and they now plan to sue Con Ed for it, plus the $25,000 to $50,00 in contracting expenses they incurred.The situation isn't perfectly cut and dry, though. Con Ed claims that the gas line was too small for the restaurant and that it was waiting on the Department of Buildings approval before it could light the stoves. Kaye says that approval was given back in January and that her team had kept Con Ed informed throughout their buildout process, so there shouldn't have been an issue with the size of the gas line at the last minute.
In any case, Moscow57 survived, and the gas finally did go on in September and the team quickly added brunch. Now, they're looking to expand dinner service to seven nights a week and add lunch to make up for lost time.