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Once a Lifeline for NYC Restaurants, Deferred Rent Payments Could Shutter Many

Plus, new Bowery Cuban restaurant Mi Salsa Kitchen opens — and more intel

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A recent NYC Hospitality Alliance survey showed that 37 percent of 403 city restaurants agreed to deferred rent payments during the pandemic
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Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Deferred rent payments pile up for the city’s struggling restaurants

Many of the city restaurateurs entered into deferred rent agreements with their landlords to stave off hefty rent payments as revenues plummeted during the pandemic. But now, with some businesses owing a year’s worth of rent and no easy road to economic recovery in sight, it’s unlikely that those restaurants will ever be able to pay that money back, the Real Deal reports. What was once seen as a temporary lifeline now could push more restaurants toward permanently closing as the bills pile up.

According to an NYC Hospitality Alliance survey in December, 37 percent of 403 restaurants in the city agreed to defer their rent payments during the pandemic, to be repaid at a later date. But it’s not necessarily a great survival strategy: One Upper East Side restaurant owner told the Real Deal that its landlord offered to defer the restaurant’s $48,000 monthly rent payments. The restaurateur, who characterized deferred rent payments to the Real Deal as “an eventual death sentence,” ended up not taking the deal due to the massive amount of money that would have piled up and the eventual repayment deadline. The restaurateur, who is not named, ended up shuttering the UES spot last fall.

There is proposed legislation in the works at the state level that could permanently cancel the majority of back rent owed by restaurants, but there are still many benchmarks that the bill has to pass before potentially getting approved as part of the state’s executive budget for fiscal year 2022.

In other news

— Two new meal kit startups offer at-home dinner options from NYC restaurants including Bolero, Musket Room, Crown Shy, and more.

— Many small businesses are still struggling to adhere to the city’s ongoing plastic bag ban.

— New Bowery Cuban restaurant Mi Salsa Kitchen opens at the corner of East Houston and Allen Street.

— Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia unveils plan to drastically streamline permitting processes for new restaurants in the city.

-— Emmy Squared will be selling the company’s famed Emmy Burger at all of its locations throughout March, according to a restaurant spokesperson. Typically, the burger is only sold at sister restaurant Emily in the West Village.

— Yes to all of this: