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The NYC Restaurant Rent Crisis Is Not Letting Up

Plus, East Village bitters destination Amor y Amargo has debuted a new general store — and more intel

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New York City Restaurants Resume Indoor Service At 25% Capacity
NYC restaurants are continuing to struggle due to fixed costs like rent
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

New survey reveals 88 percent of NYC restaurants were unable to pay full rent in October

The rent crisis for NYC’s restaurants and bars is continuing to worsen. A new survey of more than 400 establishments citywide conducted by the NYC Hospitality Alliance reveals that 88 percent of restaurants could not pay full rent in October. That’s up just one percent from the survey in August, but it’s indicative of the fact that restaurants and bars are continuing to struggle with fixed costs like rent even with the re-introduction of limited indoor dining in late September.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that restaurants and bars in the city would have to shut on-premises dining at 10 p.m. While that doesn’t seem excessive considering the previous mandate called for outdoor dining to end at 11 p.m., and indoor at midnight, restaurateurs worry that without a reduction in the recent spike of COVID-19 cases, indoor dining could go away completely again, further hampering business. San Francisco shut down all indoor dining this week after the spike in cases there, and France and Germany have closed their restaurants and bars in response to the rise in cases there.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called for indoor dining to be reevaluated this week, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t ruled out further restrictions if cases continue to rise. The Hospitality Alliance predicts that this latest round of curfews is likely to worsen the crisis with no federal coronavirus relief in sight. The senate resumed negotiations around the relief package this week, but it remains unclear if anything will be passed before President-elect Joe Biden takes over in January.

In other news

— Lower East Side Thai favorite Wayla has introduced several new menu items for the winter, according to a restaurant spokesperson. Chef Tom Naumsuwan has added items like khao soy, the coconut curry, chicken and egg noodles dish; Penang nua, which is a beef curry served at Wayla with braised beef brisket, bell peppers, string beans, and coconut cream; and a grilled tofu pad Thai.

— East Village bitters destination Amor y Amargo has debuted a new general store and cocktail tasing room across the street from the original location, at 95 Avenue A, at East 6th Street.

— Former Per Se head baker and bagel maven Melissa Weller is now coming on board as the resident baker at Williamsburg all-day cafe Gertie. At the restaurant, Weller will revisit bagels along with cookies and sweets like schneken, chocolate marzipan babka, and rugelach. Weller’s first cookbook, A Good Bake, debuts Tuesday.

— A conversation coming to every home soon: