Good Enough to Reopen

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When a Con Edison inspector detected several gas leaks in the building that houses Good Enough to Eat, 483 Amsterdam Ave., gas was shut off to all six stories on Oct. 29. Owner Carrie Levin thought the eatery would be out of service for just a day or two. Instead, a nine-day ordeal of back-and-forths with city agencies and plumbers ensued, costing the establishment an estimated $15,000 to 17,000 a day.

But the 28-year-old comfort food hub, between West 83rd and 84th streets, reopened its doors on the night of Nov. 6, after passing final Fire Department and Department of Buildings inspections. Con Ed then replaced all of the building’s pipes and brought in new meters. Gas was turned on, and throughout the weekend, Good Enough to

Carrie Levin, owner of Good Enough to Eat, explains that the restaurant is closed due to a gas leak. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Carrie Levin, owner of Good Enough to Eat, explains that the restaurant is closed due to a gas leak. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Eat had a line snaking outside during peak brunch and dinner hours.

“I love my restaurant. I love my neighborhood. I love my job. It was worth going through this,” said Levin, 51, beaming on Saturday afternoon while restocking on groceries that had run out the night before.

She said that the shut-down had allowed her to place her work in perspective, and she appreciated it more.

Yet Levin was not so cheerful the weekend before when, bundled in a black parka during a crisp afternoon, she sat at a table in front of Good Enough to Eat inviting passersby to sign a petition to present to her landlord, Arthur Leeds Management. Later, she said that the landlord was reluctant to pay plumbers to work overtime. This was one of the factors causing her to lose business on a popular weekend that included Halloween, two World Series Yankees games and the New York Marathon. Levin also encouraged passersby to call 311 to complain; as a small business owner, she cannot do that for her own establishment.

Calls to the office of Arthur Leeds Management were not returned. But Frank Segal, an agent who oversees the property for Arthur Leeds, said during a Nov. 5 visit to the site that the company had no comment.

“We did everything we can do and Con Ed is going to take care of the rest,” he added.

The leak was first detected when a Con Ed meter reader smelled gas. Gas for hot water and heat was turned on in the 18-unit residential part of 483 Amsterdam Ave. on Nov. 5, the night before Good Enough to Eat reopened.

Ariel Kates-Holmes, an Upper West Side resident who signed the petition, waited in line on Saturday, Nov. 7 around 11 a.m. with friends.

“I was disappointed last week,” said Kates-Holmes about one of her favorite brunch spots.

Even with the restaurant closed, Levin stayed there from 8 a.m. to as late as 7 p.m. every day. Several of her 30 staff members, many whom have been with her since almost the start, offered support, juggling phone calls and breaking the bad news to customers who continuously stuck their heads through the closed doors.

Her son set up a Facebook page, which Levin most recently used to boast of the restaurant’s reopening and announce a celebratory “gratitude party” on Nov. 14 with a prix fixe menu. For $23, the restaurant will be offering an appetizer, main dish and dessert, plus Halloween candy, since it was closed on Oct. 31. Levin recommended making reservations in advance (212-496-0163).

“This is my first baby,” she said, smiling, the night before the restaurant reopened. “I had three kids afterwards but this is my first baby.”

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  • shannonbishop

    Great article and great place to eat! It's good to hear a happy ending once in a while!

  • shannonbishop

    Great article and great place to eat! It's good to hear a happy ending once in a while!

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  • doublehis

    Arthur Leeds Management is an example of everything that’s wrong with manhattan landlords. When will these people be made accountable for the damage they cause?

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