HELL'S KITCHEN — Kashkaval Cheese Market and Wine Bar will close its 16-year-old spot on Ninth Avenue before the end of the month.
The wine bar — which serves tapas, meats, cheese and Mediterranean kebabs and platters, along with selling specialty groceries — will shut its doors at 856 Ninth Ave. on May 24.
The restaurant was originally set to close at the end of September after its landlord, the nonprofit Clinton Housing Development Company, declined to renew its longtime lease.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's office managed to set up a meeting between the restaurant and its landlords, where they agreed to push the vacate date to May 31, the restaurant spokeswoman said.
“Kashkaval has been in the community since 1998 and is locally owned,” said co-owner Daniel Assaf. “It’s unfortunate we have to close under these circumstances. We have been great tenants, we pay a market rent and were willing to continue doing so. Our shop is successful and we employ over 30 people.”
An online petition asking the CHDC to let the restaurant remain open gathered more than 3,600 signatures, but the owners said the spot would shut down this month regardless.
Clinton Housing did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but executive director Joe Restuccia said in September that the organization had a number of "ongoing problems" with Kashkaval as a tenant.
Still, the neighborhood will not be without Kashkaval — just next door, Assaf and his partner Corey Samuels are expanding Kashkaval Garden, a sit-down restaurant they opened last summer. The spot serves a selection of bourbons and scotch, some of the standard favorites from the original spot, and offbeat menu items like raclette and French-Canadian standard poutine.
The owners plan to build an "all-season garden space" behind the restaurant that will bring its seating up to 60 people.
Customers who visit Kashkaval Cheese Market and Wine Bar one last time before it closes will receive a free drink voucher for Kashkaval Garden, Assaf said.
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support we have received. We were very moved by the hundreds of stories and letters in support of our efforts to renew our lease,” said Samuels. “Many people have had wonderful and memorable experiences at Kashkaval over the years and the national, and even international, attention has been overwhelming.”