EAST VILLAGE — A neighborhood Venezuelan restaurant has been closed the past two weeks because of a gas leak, according to a manager.
Caracas Arepa Bar, located at 93 1/2 East Seventh St., closed on Aug. 8 after workers called the fire department and Con Edison about a “strong smell of gas,” said Vanessa Maldonado, the chain’s operations manager.
But she blamed the extended closure on the plumbing company the restaurant hired to fix the issue, saying that workers were “erratic” and did not submit necessary paperwork to Con Edison in a timely manner, despite assurances otherwise.
“It has been all this unclarity,” she said. “It has been very, very vague and confusing.”
Maldonado — who oversees all of Caracas’ locations in the East Village, Williamsburg and Rockaway — said the restaurant called Roto-Rooter plumbing company immediately after finding out it needed to make repairs.
The eatery had used the company for about two years to handle issues like clogged and leaky pipes, and the restaurant was told that service would be restored within two days to a week, she said.
But after spending two days fixing a gas pipe, the company waited a week to file the necessary paperwork for a Con Ed inspection, all the while assuring the restaurant it was submitted, Maldonado said. Roto-Rooter also avoided her questions, she said.
“All the time they were lying to us, telling us that the papers were in, the papers are here, the person who has the papers is not here,” she said.
A Roto-Rooter employee did not go into detail about the situation before placing a DNAinfo reporter on hold for several minutes. The employee did not answer repeated follow up calls or return a voice message.
A Con Ed inspection is set for Aug. 26 at 12:30 p.m., a spokesman said.
Maldonado said she hopes the 12-year-old restaurant passes, noting that 20 employees have been out of work during one of the busiest times of the year for the restaurant.
“We’re losing all these very good weeks of business,” she said. “Hopefully [the issue] will be history very soon.”