HUDSON HEIGHTS — The owners of a popular restaurant that closed abruptly in October after a little more than a year in business are aiming for a comeback.
The owners of Rusty Mackerel, Frank McHugh and William Rodriguez, appeared before Community Board 12’s licensing Wednesday seeking to renew their liquor license for the now-shuttered eatery at 209 Pinehurst Ave.
The pair, who also own Frank's Market and the upscale wine shop Vines on Pine, said financial and management issues had led them to close the approximately 20-seat restaurant in the fall. However, they are hoping to re-launch the space this spring.
Rusty Mackerel opened in June 2013 as a collaboration between McHugh, Rodriguez and Washington-Heights born chef James Moran. The restaurant served New American-style dishes, with nods to both Spanish and Dominican cuisine. It earned high marks from locals and a positive review in the New York Times in February 2014.
At the time of the closing, the owners released a brief statement saying only that it had been a difficult but necessary decision.
At Wednesday's meeting, McHugh said Moran is no longer involved with the project and that the owners are working with a new chef with plan to make changes to the menu. He declined to give specifics, saying only that they were still working out the details and hoped to create something the neighborhood would enjoy.
McHugh and Rodriguez plan to open as early as April 1, he noted.
The committee voted unanimously in favor of the license renewal. The application will now go before the full board at the end of March.