New York City hot spots cut business hours due to crime and staff shortages at work

Big Apple restaurants are cutting back their hours while battling rampant crime and a chronic shortage of workers, industry insiders told Side Dish.

Last month, head chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened six restaurants and six fast food restaurants inside the iconic Tin Building on South Street Seaport. But the building and its restaurants are only open four days a week, from noon to nine in the evening.

Even with reduced hours and days, the Tin Building is still without the staff it needs. Recent ads on social networks show openings for “chefs, chefs, chef de partie, garrison manager, butchers, bakers, pastry chefs, cake designers and sous chefs”.

A tin building is not uncommon. Restaurant experts interviewed by Side Dish say the shorter weeks are a response to crime, inflation, and labor shortages. And New Yorkers who have returned to work are often in their offices only two or three days a week.

“People are not out as much, and the late-night demand isn’t always there because of the crime factor. I don’t even feel safe when I walk around at 2am on Sunday nights. Are you? It’s like the Matrix experience,” says Nightlife King Richie Romero. .

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten Tin Building
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Tin building and restaurants are only open four days a week.
Stefano Giovannini for NY Post
Jean-Georges Vongerichten says the Tin Building is still without the staff it needs.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten says the Tin Building is still without the staff it needs.
Getty Images

The 11,000-square-foot Nebula Club, the largest new nightclub that opened last year, is now open three nights a week—Tuesday, Friday and Saturday—with a “one-off” on some Thursdays. The rest of the time, the club opens its doors only for special occasions.

New Romero from Omakase kosher sushi restaurant opens Fin and Scales, at 10 E. 8th St. , is open one night a week, while his other restaurant, Sushi by Bou, in Chelsea, is open five nights a week. Then there’s Zazzy’s Pizza, which has three locations. It’s still open seven days a week—until 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Lower East Side Precinct, but it closes its ovens at 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.

“People have adapted to staying home more after COVID. They are in their offices two to three days a week instead of five, and it is difficult to make places for employees. There is less demand. People are not moving around as much,” Romero said.

Some of the new restaurants that tried to stay open seven days a week had to quickly downsize.

Richie Romero
“People aren’t out as much, and the late-night demand isn’t always there because of the crime factor,” says Richie Romero.
WireImage

When the Roam Sporting Club launched in Queens in February, it was open seven days a week. But during the summer, the upscale sports bar near Austin Boulevard has been reduced to five days. Owner Manish Shada tried to reopen it for “Monday Night Football” this fall, but the cost was too high and “the streets in Forest Hills were very quiet,” he said.

By mid-September, the restaurant had dropped to five nights a week after it stopped working weekday lunch. Shatha said he didn’t want to “fight the post-quiet nights trend” at the top of the week. He has also tried to lure customers in with discounted bar tabs during peak hours.

Ten Hope in Williamsburg is also feeling the pressure. When it launched in 2019, Ten Hope was open six days a week. It’s now open four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, said Bill Zaferros, the owner, to “tighten the ship and withstand the coming winter.” It will also launch a price incentive — $10 menus during dinner hours — to bring people in.

The Romero Nebula in May.
The Romero Nebula in May. The 11,000-square-foot club is now open three nights a week.
WireImage

“We’ve always been packed on the weekends. It’s much more efficient to simplify things and go where the demand is rather than keep banging my head against the wall trying to get customers out early in the week, especially during the coming winter months,” Zaferros said.

Legendary cocktail artist Albert Trumer recently opened an ultra-chic bar and lounge called DOM, for Domicile, in the iconic United Charities building below Hawksmoor, a British steakhouse, at 287 Park Avenue South.

Albert Trumer inside his new tape DOM.
Albert Trumer inside his new tape DOM.
J. Messerschmidt / NY Post

Trumer, who is best known for setting up celebrity hotspot Apotheke in Chinatown, said it’s only open three days a week, Thursday through Saturday, due to staffing issues, and is also available for private events.

“I have lost many of my employees during the pandemic, and it is difficult to find people who are highly skilled and developed, who are also willing to work long hours in hospitality,” Trumer said.

The Austrian-born mixologist brings his elixirs to DOM after selling Apotheke, serving medicinal-style cocktails and fireworks in a former opium den.

Albert Trumper
“It’s hard to find highly skilled, sophisticated people who are also willing to work in hospitality for long hours,” Trumer says.
J. Messerschmidt / NY Post

Many of the liqueurs are from an eponymous line that uses herbs from the Austrian Alps to treat everything from the common cold to a lackluster libido.

As New York City transitions into the holiday season, he hopes to expand the hours and days of DOM, serving cocktails divided into health and beauty categories, pain relievers, stress relievers, aphrodisiacs, pharmaceuticals, stimulants, and euphoria-boosters.

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