Little Italy's 30-year-old restaurant Il Palazzo was evicted last night by an unlikely offender, The Italian American Museum. According to DNAinfo, the museum and restaurant have been in a tug of war over the space for several years. The former owner of the building had made a verbal promise with owner Annette Sabatino and and her husband Perry Chrisciatelli to sell them the building. But in 2008, the building was sold to the museum, which allegedly tried to quadruple the rent of the restaurant.
The restaurant dispute went to court, but ultimately, the judge sided with the museum. Il Palazzo was allowed to stay on short-term three month leases if various stipulations were met, including, $17,000 in rent had to be paid on time. Last month, after a rough winter, it wasn't. "We had a bad winter. We didn't make any money," says Sabatino. The eviction notice arrived on March 18. The duo still operates Da Nico, another restaurant in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Il Palazzo isn't the only longtime tenant to run into trouble with the museum. It's also currently under fire for trying to radically increase the rent and push out an 85-year-old Italian woman who has lived in her apartment since 1962.