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Uncle Mario’s Brick Oven Pizza on the corner of 9th Avenue and W50th Street has closed its doors after 15 years. Owner Mario Abitino told us today high rents meant that he shuttered the popular Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria.
“The rent is unreasonable. It’s $28,000 per month. The tourists aren’t coming back at the moment — and I’ve just been working to pay the landlord. It’s not worth it,” Abitino said as he watched the store being dismantled this afternoon.
The closed sign went up at the weekend and an auction took place of all the fixtures and fittings which were being moved out today. Workers could be seen dismantling the outdoor dining, painting over signs and removing furniture.
Abitino told us his restaurant had not managed to get the Restaurant Relief Fund (RRF). Over 160 local restaurants did get RRF grants of over $137 million — but the majority of bars and restaurants received no federal money. During the pandemic, he also had to close the Abitino Pizzeria on 10th Avenue — one of over 50 Hell’s Kitchen businesses to shutter.
“Thank you to all of the Hell’s Kitchen locals who have supported Uncle Mario’s for the past 15 years,” he told us. “We’re looking around for another location in the area. We’ll be back.” Uncle Mario’s featured in W42ST Best Hell’s Kitchen Pizza list.
Abitino continues to operate other restaurants around New York under the Lobo Loco and Abitino brands.