FLATIRON — In late March, Jason Li had the pots, pans, plates — everything in order to open Chop Shop II on West 24th Street.
Everything, that is, except the gas.
Four months after it was slated to open, Li's eatery is still waiting for Con Edison inspectors to come in and turn his kitchen's gas on — part of a widespread work delay that the utility company is blaming on an increased volume of calls in the wake of two fatal gas explosions.
"Things have slowed down," Con Edison spokesman Sidney Alvarez told DNAinfo New York, citing the explosions in Harlem and the East Village as the reason for the heightened awareness that's creating more work for the utility company. "It's that people are more aware."
Calls from people concerned about gas doubled after the East Harlem explosion, Alvarez said. Despite contracting out work and partnering with the Department of Buildings, Con Edison has struggled to keep pace with the influx, he said.
After months of languishing in a Con Edison backlog waiting for their gas to be turned on, the Chop Shop II owners they decided couldn't wait any longer.
Despite investing on high-end kitchen equipment, they were forced to go out and buy electric burners and hot plates and created a mostly cold menu in order to finally open this week.
"You know we're losing money every day, the rent's like $20,000 a month and we had to do something," Li said. "We were ready like two, three months ago."
"Now we just do the half of it," Li said. "We bought some like electrical stove and ovens, just try to manage."
"We were really looking forward" to a grand opening, Li said, but he encountered delay after delay.
Li said Con Ed officials initially told him, "Oh we'll send somebody in 2 weeks," but after the two weeks passed with no visit, they changed their timeline to, "Oh, we're going to be looking into it."
Chop Shop is one of several restaurants to complain about long wait times to get gas lines hooked up.
Moscow57 on Delancey Street opened with salads and cold tapas last year after Con Ed took seven months to turn on its gas, according to Crain's New York Business. Long Island City spot Mu Ramen tweeted in November that it was waiting for gas inspectors who never came.