Hell's Kitchen Gastropub Gets Rid of Sidewalk Cafe

By Mathew Katz on August 18, 2011 5:51pm 

The offending sidewalk cafe in front of Albert Hall Tavern, which has since shut down.
The offending sidewalk cafe in front of Albert Hall Tavern, which has since shut down.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

HELL'S KITCHEN — A Hell's Kitchen restaurant that drew the ire of the local community board for its unsanctioned sidewalk cafe has taken the offending patio furniture off the menu.

The owners of Albert Hall Tavern, at 508 Ninth Ave., decided their outdoor space was more trouble than it was worth.

"We didn't know there was a complaint," said the restaurant's chef, Bill Seleno. "We just caught wind of it, and our legal team told us to shut it down."

The two tables and large umbrella that had been positioned in front of the eatery for about six months were removed on Wednesday.

Seleno said he was unaware of any complaints until contacted by DNAinfo on Tuesday.

The cafe drew complaints and jabs at a meeting of Community Board 4's Business License and Permits Committee that day.

Among them were gripes from other neighborhood restaurants that paid substantial fees to operate licensed outdoor areas.

The board's manager, Bob Benfatto, Jr., said that he had contacted the restaurant about the cafe, but was referred to their lawyer. 

So the committee decided to ask the Department of Consumer Affairs to investigate the cafe.

Seleno said that the tavern has no plans to seek an expensive cafe license for the sidewalk space.

"It's not a large enough space," he said. "It doesn't seem like something we'll pursue."

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