Sparks Steak House — one of the longest-running old-school New York steakhouses — might be saying its goodbyes this summer due to a rent hike.
The Post reports that owner Michael Cetta may need to leave the 210 East 46th Street space by the end of August if he can’t reach a deal with landlord Durst Organization, the same real estate firm that manages One World Trade. He claims Durst wants an 100 percent increase in rent.
Durst did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Eater.
Update: Durst VP of public Affairs Jordan Barowitz declined to tell Eater the exact percentage increase that they requested, but he noted that they want to keep the restaurant in the space and think that Durst can sign a new lease with Cetta, with a new rent.
“The space is worth what it’s worth,” he says. “It has a market value. That’s why we’re confident we’ll be able to reach a deal.”
Sparks last signed a lease nearly 25 years ago, meaning its current rent is likely more line with projections from back then. Cetta had asked Durst for a rent decrease from what he’s currently paying, Barowitz adds. “I’m sure that there is a middle position,” he says.
Still, even if they don’t reach an agreement, Sparks may see another life elsewhere. Cetta says if he’s forced to close the steakhouse, he seek a new location.
The steakhouse first opened at a different location in 1966 before moving to the current one nearly 40 years ago — making it one of the last remaining steakhouses in an area that used to be known as “Steak Row.” It’s famously the spot where mobster Paul “Big Paul” Castellano of the Gambino crime family was brazenly killed in 1985. Cetta says the incident remains part of the “restaurant’s mystique.”
It’s also one of the highest grossing independent restaurants in the country. According to Restaurant Business Online, Sparks ranks as the 24th in the country — raking in an estimated $18.6 million in 2016 at about $92 per bill.
If it closes, nearly 90 people on staff will be laid off, from servers and runners to chefs. Eater has reached out to Sparks for information. Stay tuned for more.