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Cuozzo Says Rent Hikes Only Kill 'Tired Old' Restaurants

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As the restaurant world reacts to the news that Danny Meyer will be forced to move Union Square Cafe next year, many have expressed fears that steadily increasing rents are doing permanent damage to the New York restaurant scene. But Post critic Steve Cuozzo has a different take: "Rents kill restaurant biz? no, only few tired old ones. Hello Carbone, Nakazawa, Gato, R. Georgette, La Vez, All'Onda, Cecil, Red Farm ...." That, however, prompts a response from Pete Wells.

The Times critic argues: "Wasn't the idea...more like: restaurants that help pioneer marginal neighborhoods get kicked out when those nabes take off?" From there the debate rages on. Cuozzo counters that Union Square Cafe has lasted "at least 15 years" since the neighborhood took off, and Wells wonders when the lease was last negotiated. But in any case, Cuozzo concludes, "I'll miss USC but it lost edge & buzz long ago."

So are rent hikes destroying the New York restaurant scene, or is this simply a part of the restaurant circle of life? Readers, weigh in in the comments section.
· @stevecuozzo [Twitter]
· All Coverage of Union Square Cafe [~ENY~]