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West Side Steakhouse owner Nick Zippilli was grilled by two of his regular celebrity clients on television yesterday evening. Fox presenters Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld showed concern as they asked an emotional Nick about the future of his 10th Avenue business that employs 16 full and part-time staff.

“This business is difficult, even if you are at a hundred percent,” said Nick. “We are at 25percent right now, and it is extremely difficult. We have a curfew. We have to close at 10pm, so I don’t get a second seating. So it’s even worse than people think.”

He explained that the restaurant relies on tourists, theater, hotels and visitors to the Javits Center. “We’re not getting any of that. We’re relying on locals. We’re relying on deliveries,” he stressed. “That’s not enough. It’s absolutely not enough. Yesterday it was snowing, nobody ate outside.”

Zippilli said the future looked bleak without government help. “If they cut us off for inside dining, I’m afraid I’m going to have to make some very serious decisions. I probably won’t be able to maintain the restaurant unless the SBA or local government drops us a lifeline because we’re not going to be able to survive,” he said.

Gutfeld, a regular client at the restaurant, emphasized how important businesses like Nick’s are to New York. “It is sad because these are the hardest working people in the city. They have the longest hours,” he said. “They’re incredibly important for the neighborhood because restaurants create foot traffic which makes the neighborhood better and safer. It breaks your heart. It’s an important part of city life. And if you lose this, you lose the city.”

West Side Steakhouse during the lockdown. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

Perino added: “If the government is going to take away your right to make a living, they need to make that right with you.”

Nick Zippilli pleaded to be allowed to keep serving. “We have to stay open. This is nonsense. I haven’t seen anywhere where restaurants are causing this pandemic. It’s wrong on so many levels.”

“We remain optimistic. If we could get a lifeline dropped to us we might be able to tough it out until the vaccine works,” he added. “Maybe we’ll be able to do it. If not, it’s been nice, kids!”

Many Hell’s Kitchen restaurants have already gone into hibernation, and a decision is expected in the next 48 hours from Governor Cuomo on the future of indoor dining in the city.

You can watch the fill interview on The Daily Briefing on Fox News here.

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