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After 24 Years, Pó Closes in the West Village

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The Cornelia Street stalwart co-founded by Mario Batali is no more

Pó
Stefanie Tuder

, the Italian restaurant in the West Village co-founded by Mario Batali is now closed. Owner Steven Crane said that he would not be able to sustain the 120 percent rent increase from his landlord — a 120 percent increase to his $10,000 a month rent.

Eater has reached out to Pó’s landlord Howard Dublin of S.W. Management for comment but hasn’t heard back.

“I’m bummed. It’s not the way I wanted to go out,” Crane says. “I'm sad for my staff. They’ve been with me for years. They’re like family.”

Crane opened Pó in 1993 with Batali — who left to open Babbo — as an ambitious neighborhood Italian spot. It has since become a mainstay on Cornelia Street, known for affordable, seasonal Italian fare.

The now-empty Pó
The now-empty Pó

Wednesday was the restaurant’s last service, with neighbors stopping by to send it off. The space is now empty and Crane plans to take some time off.

Pó isn’t the only restaurant in the area facing trouble. Cornelia Street Cafe’s rent is now 77 times what it was when the culture-driven cafe opened in 1977. Home closed last year, and several leases are nearly up.

“I hate to hear when good restaurants close,” Batali said over email. “It’s a sign of the times when costs are going up, labor laws are increasingly challenging already small margins, consumers are confused by tipping policy ambiguity, and many restaurateurs have very little profit left to cut into to remain sustainable. I’m betting that 15 to 20 percent of all freestanding restos in NYC will close in the next two years.”

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