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The Guys Behind Five Guys Bring Upscale Steakhouse to Seaport

By Julie Shapiro | June 23, 2011 11:33am

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — An upscale steakhouse will soon replace the shuttered Carmine's Italian Seafood near the South Street Seaport.

Called "The Fighting Chair," the new bar and restaurant is the latest project of the entrepreneurs who brought the Five Guys burger chain to Manhattan a few years ago.

"This will be their own personal restaurant, [more] upscale," said Elliot Pollack, a consultant on the project.

Pollack said the owners — Russ Cutler, John Rigos and Andrew Stern — are still working out the details of the menu. He expects The Fighting Chair to open in October.

Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee offered advisory approval to the venue's liquor license this week, after they moved the closing time to midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends, two hours earlier than Pollack had hoped.

"It puts us at a disadvantage," Pollack said of the new closing time, but he agreed to it to get the board's support.

Board members joked that the owners should change the name to "The Peaceful Chair," as a token of good will.

The name is a reference to the chair that anglers sit in to brace themselves as they reel in a particularly large fish, and it is likely a nod to the neighborhood's history as a fish market.

The beloved Carmine's, a vintage maritime-themed watering hole, closed in June 2010 after 107 years at 212 Front St.

Owner Greg Molini said he was forced to shut Carmine's down after his landlord raised the rent to $13,000 per month for the 800-square-foot space. Molini hoped to reopen in a larger space nearby, but those plans fell through and he sold all the old Carmine's fixtures to a restaurant in Maryland.

The owners of The Fighting Chair did not respond to requests for comment.