An "unexpected emergency gas leak" at 37 1/2 St. Mark's Place, which is home to the East Village outpost of Dallas BBQ (not that Dallas BBQ), will leave both the BBQ restaurant and the tenants who live upstairs without hot water for "days" or cooking gas for "weeks," according to a notice pasted on the building's first floor window yesterday.
Con Edison responded to a call about a "faint smell of gas" at Dallas BBQ yesterday afternoon, according to a spokesman. Upon arrival, the Con Ed crew discovered "multiple leaks on the property," although the exact number could not be confirmed, and promptly shut off the gas.
Reached by phone, a Dallas Barbecue employee confirmed that the restaurant is closed today. As for how long the leak will effect the restaurant, the employee said "we don't know the status."
37 1/2 St. Marks is just one block north of the site of March's devastating 2nd Avenue explosion, which left two dead and 20 injured, and was believed to have been caused by illegal gas syphoning. According to building owner Kenco Reality Management, considering the neighborhood's track record, Con Edison exercised extreme caution in turning off the gas. From their printed notice: "This is not good news. We did our best to persuade them [Con Ed] otherwise, but because of the explosion across the street, they err on the side of caution."
Kenco's notice continues: "We are having licensed plumbers come tonight and tomorrow [Tuesday] to assess what can be done, and we'll keep everyone posted. We are not optimistic at this time that gas will be restored anytime soon."
Once a plumber makes the necessary repairs, Con Ed will have to conduct a follow-up inspection before turning the gas back on.
Kenco also stressed that the restoration of hot water is their first priority, and warns that fixing the cooking gas lines may require extensive testing in every single apartment. If it turns out that all of the gas lines need to be replaced, "It's a big job and can be quite disruptive."
The management company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We have also reached out to the manager of Dallas BBQ and will update with any additional information as we get it.
Update: Dallas BBQ spokesman Stuart Wetanson sent us the following statement, denying that the shutdown was the result of an emergency situation:
Unfortunately, the building our restaurant is located in on St. Marks had a scheduled plumbing inspection yesterday and did not pass with Con Ed. We are working to resolve the plumbing violations and pass an inspection as soon as possible. Hopefully, we will be open in the next few days, if not a couple weeks, but it is too soon to tell.
This situation has been handled safely for both the residents and our patrons and is the result of a scheduled inspection not a dangerous leak or emergency. We will be extending our delivery range out of the Chelsea Dallas BBQ to cover the East Village and most of lower Manhattan. Every Dallas BBQ employee will be given an opportunity to continue working at another location while we are closed. We apologize for any inconvenience to our costumers and our thoughts are with the residents of the building.