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'Hip' Indian Restaurant Replacing Short-Lived The Jones on Ninth Avenue

By Maya Rajamani | March 30, 2017 4:34pm | Updated on March 31, 2017 4:47pm
 The Jones at 788 Ninth Ave. between West 52nd and 53rd streets.
The Jones at 788 Ninth Ave. between West 52nd and 53rd streets.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

HELL’S KITCHEN — Short-lived American restaurant The Jones on Ninth Avenue is giving way to a "hip" Indian restaurant from the owner behind a pair of Manhattan eateries. 

The Jones at 788 Ninth Ave., which has served comfort food and cocktails since it opened a little over a year ago, will serve its last meal Thursday evening, according to owner Sean Connolly.

Connolly recently sold the eatery to Abishek Sharma, who owns Surya in Greenwich Village and Swagat on the Upper West Side. Sharma's newest venture, called Badshah, will open in mid-April after some minor interior renovations, he said.

The new restaurant will serve dishes like butter chicken, clove-smoked lamb chops and a “fisherman’s catch” plate with jumbo prawns — but with a few “twists” on the traditional North Indian dishes, he said.

“It’s not going to be like the very traditional Indian restaurant — it’s going to be more hip,” Sharma said.

It will also offer wine, beer and cocktail pairings with all of its dishes, with an emphasis on presentation, he noted.

“We want to make sure our food is very beautiful when we present it,” he said.

Connolly, meanwhile, blamed the mayor's office in part for his eatery's impending closure. 

“You don’t have to look far to know about the frustration and angst that the restaurant has with the current environment,” he said, citing the recent minimum wage increase and “taxation and regulation” of small businesses as factors that swayed his decision to sell the restaurant. 

“The mayor’s office is not making it very easy for restaurants and small businesses.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor's office on Thursday said there has been a "steady reduction" in restaurant fines under the current administration, as well as an increase in the number of licensed restaurants.

"The number of restaurants in the five boroughs is on the rise and the red tape and fines involved in opening and operating an eatery has fallen dramatically under this Mayor," she said in a statement.

In the past, the mayor's office and city's Small Business Services department urged businesses to call 311 for help navigating the city's rules and meeting financial challenges.

Before The Jones, Connolly operated a restaurant called Eatery for more than a decade, in the space currently home to The Meatball Shop.

“It’s always sad saying goodbye… but I’m very happy with what I’m getting for it — in that sense, I feel fortunate,” he said.