Brazilian restaurant BarBossa had its last day of service on Sunday after more than a decade at 232 Elizabeth St., owner Ernani Assuncao says. Their lease was ending, and the new rent price from Steve Croman — one of the most hated landlords in New York— was close to three times higher than the previous rent, going from $7,500 per month to about $22,000 per month, Assuncao says. It was too much for BarBossa, where sales slowed down in recent years, Assuncao says. "It's been hard," he says. "Business is not the same." A listing for the 900 square-foot space advertises about a $21,500-per-month rent.
Despite Croman's reputation for tenant harassment, Assuncao says the landlord has been cooperative and helpful as the restaurant ties up loose ends. Croman says Assuncao never asked him for a rent renewal, only calling to say he was going out of business. "We were informed they were closing, and that's that," Croman says. "They've been a good tenant." The landlord purchased the six-story building, which also has 28 residential units, in 2006 for $6.5 million, according to Department of Finance records.
Assuncao and his business partner used to own another popular local restaurant, a crepe cafe called Palacinka. It also closed because they could no longer afford the rent, Assuncao says. He's now taking a break from the restaurant industry. He may open something again, but it probably won't be in Manhattan, he adds. "This is what we know," Assuncao says. "This is what we want to keep doing."