'It hurts. I'm trying to to cry right now—I grew up here'... They have over 300 signatures on the petition, but it was started at customers' behest, not the owners, so it doesn't mean much... What they're saying: there was old electrical systems in the building that the restaurant had been asking to be fixed for years. Landlord didn't fix it. Then there was an electrical fire and the buildings owner wants the restaurat to sign a new lease asking THEM to pay for $750,000 in repairs... The owner has gone in the back. The guy's heartbroken... The place is packed. People are really moved. There's even a pair of Japanese tourists!... There's a dude in here that's been coming for 40 years: 'It's a standard. A staple. This place is a part of my life!'
An Eater tipster adds:
It's not just about real estate apparently though the deal they had offered him is supposedly double his current rent. They want him to be responsible for the entire bldg in case of fire etc.
I'll be going for a last lunch there tomorrow or Sunday.