The Real Deal New York

New York restaurant numbers rise despite big-name closures

The number of permits issued for restaurants, bars and cafés rose over 27% over the last decade

October 09, 2014 11:20AM

Union Square Cafe at 21 Eat 16th Street shuttered in June

While high-profile restaurant closures like Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café have painted a less than rosy picture of the restaurant industry’s health in recent months, the numbers tell a different story.

Despite rising rents and a growing number of layers of red tape, the number of permits issued for restaurants, bars and cafés in New York City rose over 27 percent to 23,075 at the start of the fiscal year 2015 this July from 18,606 in fiscal year 2006, according to Department of Health data cited by the Wall Street Journal. That, industry observers told the paper, is because more chefs are seeking out their own spaces and dinner-party gurus are turning pro, despite rents north of $15,000 in some Manhattan neighborhoods.

“Higher rents are happening because there’s greater interest in opening up restaurants so there’s a greater demand on space,” Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, told the Journal.

Across the river in Brooklyn, the dining scene has seen the biggest percentage increase in new restaurants over the last five years, the Journal reported. The number of eateries in the borough grew 10 percent to 5,658 at the start of fiscal year 2014, up from 5,151 in 2009, according to health department data. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

  • DTNYC

    How could this be???? The Restaurant Industry and Conservatives said the passing of the no smoking laws in restaurants would result in thousands of closings due to lost business. LOL!!!!

    • noclist

      As a smoker it hasn’t affected me in the least. I’ll still go to my favorite restaurant(s) and when I feel like a smoke, I’ll go outside. What’s the big deal? Believe it or not, even smokers find second hand smoke offensive while eating.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Was Wylie Dufresne super affordable? Because he and other big restaurants are complaining about rising rents and I don’t think those guys were suffering low profit margins so who is the pot and who is the kettle?

    I contacted Gray’s Papaya and they know what they are doing in site selection and they usually have no lulls.

    It’s one thing to not want the space any more because of the higher rent but don’t blame the rest of the city’s landlords when you would turn your nose up at offers of available space at LOWER rents. I’ve contacted multiple tenants who have been in the news claiming they HAD to leave Manhattan for trendy Brooklyn because of greedy landlord rent hikes in Manhattan.

MENU