After over two decades at its current location on the Upper West Side, kitschy comfort food mainstay Good Enough to Eat may be on the way out. Founder and chef Carrie Levin tells us she's locked in a dispute with her landlord, Arthur Leeds Management, and is not at all optimistic that it can be resolved. She says Leeds has given her an ultimatum to make costly soundproofing improvements, following an upstairs neighbor's complaints to 311. But Levin doesn't believe any complaints were ever made, because the local police told her they've heard nothing about any noise issues at the address.
"It doesn't seem that [Leeds] will be renewing our lease," says Levin. "We were told that there were complaints to 311, but there were none, and the police told us we're not even on their radar. Now, it would cost us a fortune to close for two weeks to have this soundproofing done. And it wouldn't make a difference, because the traffic noise on Amsterdam Avenue is much louder than any noise from the restaurant. And then we would we reopen and the landlord would just come up with something else!" Arthur Leeds did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
Levin currently pays $10,150 a month rent and insists she always pays on time, but says this is not the first problem she's had with the landlord. Asked why she thinks the landlord would have an agenda to force her out, Levin wouldn't say. The lease doesn't actually expire until June 30th 2013, but Levin worries that if her lease isn't going to be renewed, she could be denied a new outdoor cafe permit, which expires in April.
So she's currently searching for a new location somewhere in the area, but isn't ruling out another neighborhood entirely, perhaps in Chelsea. Still, she'd miss the Upper West Side, which has changed radically since she opened in the '80s. "When I moved in we had bullet holes in our windows, crack vials in front of the building, snipers on the roof," Levin recalls. "The corner across the street, at 83rd Street, was the crack center of New York City. It was the Wild West here. Now there's a toy store across the street. We changed the neighborhood!"