Don’t miss the final weekend of dining in Tulcingo Del Valle’s popular outdoor cabin. The long-established Mexican restaurant is being forced to dismantle its beloved shed next week due to the new 10th Avenue bike lane. And they are not the only ones…

Outdoor Dining Tulcingo Irma and Jesus
Irma and Jesus Verdejo will demolish their popular outdoor dining shed at Tulcingo this week. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Located at 665 10th Avenue (between W46/47th St), Tulcingo has been a mainstay in Hell’s Kitchen for 23 years. Earlier this year, owners Irma and Jesus Verdejo received a letter telling them that outdoor dining would become permanent upon payment of a fee — and decided to make the shed nicer, cleaner and more stable. Irma and Jesus then received another letter advising them to remove the outdoor dining shed by July 24.

“I didn’t mind paying a fee like they said originally because I had invested into the shed already,” said Irma. “I fixed everything to fit their rules and regulations for what they wanted. I thought we would have it up for more time.”

She estimates the removal will cost her anywhere from $3k to $5k. “Instead of helping us small businesses, they are instead making it harder for us and putting us down even more,” said Irma. “It’s all just very unfair.” 

Outdoor Dining Tulcingo
The outdoor dining shed at Tulcingo on 10th Avenue. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

Irma tried contacting 311 for assistance with the removal of the shed and was told they would let her know if they could send a truck over to help — but she has heard nothing since. They are resigned to removing the shed at their own cost next Thursday .

“At this point, I just want help with the removal of it,” said Irma. “It’s unfair for them to tell us that we have to remove it when the City won’t even send a truck to help remove it,” said Irma. 

Outdoor dining has become an essential part of business at Tulcingo Del Valle. “People prefer to eat outside now. I added another table inside with more seats and people still would rather take their food outside,” said Irma. “Things were very difficult because of the pandemic and outdoor dining made it a bit easier on us.” 

Tulcingo customers have voiced their displeasure at the news.  “My wife and I have been going to Tulcingo for many years and it is our favorite Mexican restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, if not all of New York,” said Uri Finzi, a Hell’s Kitchen resident.

“During COVID, we got to know Irma and the rest of the staff as they stayed open and welcomed us with open arms. When outdoor dining was available, we were excited to see that Tulcingo invested a lot of money and time constructing a beautiful and sturdy outdoor seating with lovely art inside and out,” Uri added. 

Another longtime and frequent customer, Aleta LaFargue agreed: “I think having that outdoor dining space definitely enhanced the restaurant for sure. It’s a really nice neighborhood restaurant and it’s family-owned.” 

Aleta LaFargue and Irma at Tulcingo
Aleta LaFargue (right) chatting with Irma at Tulcingo in October 2020. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Other restaurants and bars with an outdoor dining shed located between W42nd Street to W52nd Street on the west side of 10th Avenue are also affected — DBL, Valla Table and Mémé Mediterranean will all lose their outdoor dining sheds.

“I am so disappointed we have to remove the structure in the middle of the busy summer season,” said Jacob Cohen from Mémé Mediterranean. ” I was given six weeks’ notice, and I am responsible for the cost of removal. I invested a lot of money to make a clean, comfortable structure, including thousands for upgrades at the beginning of this summer. I am disappointed that the city is making us pay to remove the structure while also taking away a part of our business.”

Outdoor Dining Meme
The outdoor dining shed at Mémé Mediterranean on 10th Avenue and W44th Street will also be demolished. Photo: Phil O’Brien

But the opportunities for local restaurants are mixed — Rice X Beans, on the east side of 10th Avenue on W49th Street, began construction of a new outdoor dining shed this week.

Outdoor Dining Rice X Beans
While the west side of 10th Avenue was having its outdoor dining demolished — this new shed was being constructed by Rice X Beans on the east side this week. Photo: Phil O’Brien

In February 2022, community members, politicians and activist organizations rallied outside Target on 10th Avenue, demanding action for safer streets, following ongoing traffic fatalities. They called for pedestrian safety measures, congestion pricing for non-residents, and protected bike lanes. Data revealed the area has the city’s highest number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, amid calls for comprehensive street redesigns — including 10th Avenue.

In November last year, the Department of Transportation proposed a redesign of 10th Avenue, creating a protected bike lane from W14th Street to W52nd Street and adding concrete islands at busy crossings. At the time, the community board expressed concerns about pedestrian safety and requested physical barriers between cars and cyclists.

Department of Transportation proposals for 10th Avenue
Department of Transportation proposals for 10th Avenue bike lane were presented in November 2022. Graphic: DOT

An emergency order that allows restaurants to operate on sidewalk spaces is set to expire next week. In May, the City Council revealed the final version of their plan which would put the Department of Transportation in charge of the program. The City Council is expected to vote in the coming weeks. 

Join the Conversation


  1. How about if the dining establishments dont remove their sheds, maybe they’ll get fined, but eventually when construction for the bike lane starts, the construction crew may demolish it, just like when they demolished a lot of the sheds last year.

  2. Where is the City Council Member??
    He should be advocating to assist these longtime, upstanding community business owners.

    I guess there’s no trash or flower planting involved. Just yet another struggle for a small business. Stack this slap against the more aggressive criminal elements, drug dealing inside those pop up cannabis shops….

    Where is the inventive City Council legislation to hamper these shops which are criminal magnets?

    You won’t find answers at the beach. But you will find elected officials.

    1. Bingo! And the smoke shop right next to tulcingo! They aren’t licensed to sell cannabis yet they do and are still operational. But that’s ok!

  3. I’m pleased to hear they’re getting rid of these, they’re eyesores and they block the bikes lanes. They’re being used for druggies and homeless encampments.

  4. A much more efficient way for people to get around the far west side would be to have fast lane buses on 9th 10th and even 11th Avenues ! .. The # M15 bus on the East Side shows up every 5 to 7 minutes and although they’re supposed to not allow cars to park there .. of course they do and they’re not fined unfortunately.. Still gets the majority of us around a whole lot faster and more safely.. ! Thanks!

    1. The City only cares about bicyclists and focuses its policy and spending on building the bicycle infrastructure. The bicycle lobby is very powerful.

      The City could use that money to support essential MTA bus and subway – like contributing more to the MTA, expanding Fair Fares.

      City DOT messaging is all about promoting Citibike, bicycling – never encouraging use of subway and bus.

  5. This is a shame… I know a lot of establishments relied on this extra seating to make up for tons of revenue lost during covid. They should be allowed to utilize the sidewalk for Al fresco dining even though that will be only seasonal. I know we love coming here with our pups and we only sit outside. It’s a catch 22.. We want safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists but we want our businesses to thrive as well. While the city is at it they should be fining the bicyclists/scooters/mopeds that are running rampant on the sidewalks.

  6. Albert
    Bottcher only gets his hands dirty when he’s planting flowers. He’s mute on anything that has real impact on daily lives or business.

    Very disappointing as I was an early supporter. No more.

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