Chipotle-Style Pizza Chain Taking Over Former Chelsea Gay Bar

By Mathew Katz on August 5, 2013 12:37pm 

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 The pizza joint will soon open on Eighth Avenue.
Project Pie to Open in Former Rawhide Space
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CHELSEA — The former home of one of Chelsea's most venerated leather bars will soon welcome a Chipolte-style pizza chain.

Project Pie, a San Diego-based line of eateries that let diners customize their own thin-crust pizzas, plans to open at 212 Eighth Ave. within the next six months, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the broker that helped make the deal.

The location previously housed Rawhide, which closed after 34 years in March when its landlord increased the rent from $15,000 to $27,000 per month.

“Project Pie wants to make a splash in the Manhattan marketplace and we all feel this is a perfect location for its first NYC outpost,” Cushman & Wakefield's Christopher Schwart said in a statement.

“It will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

The new tenant plans a "major renovation" on the 2,640-square-foot space, according to Cushman & Wakefield, including the addition of folding glass doors and outdoor seating. 

Rawhide was a darkened space with no windows, advertising itself as having "NYC's hottest male dancers every night." The bar will soon reopen at East 58th Street and Third Avenue.

It is one of several longtime Chelsea institutions to close. Gay club Splash is expected to shut its doors later this month, and the nearby Paradise Cafe closed last week.

Project Pie, which also has a location in Las Vegas, offers personal pizzas made with fresh ingredients, assembled in a line and then quickly baked.

Several gay bars were interested in taking over the Rawhide space, but the pizza chain was the eventual winner of the lease.

Project Pie's owner, James Markham, could not immediately be reached for comment on the deal.

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