Neither Superstorm Sandy nor 9/11 could stop the Russ & Daughters store on the Lower East Side for long, but the pandemic has been different. Although the company kept operating its Manhattan store and food production space in the Navy Yard, it took two years and four months for the Russ & Daughters Café on Orchard Street to reopen after it shuttered following pandemic restrictions in March 2020.

The family-owned operation, which is more than a century old, is not alone among restaurants that have waited this long to reopen. Even as a share of city eateries have had to close for good because of the tough conditions, and a number of others have sprung up, a handful of long-closed spots are finally coming back.

Russ Federman said the team tried to reopen the café twice before – once in the summer of 2021 and once again in January. But each time a resurgence of Covid-19 got in the way. It wasn’t until the spring that Russ & Daughters’ management felt the business had passed the major hurdles.

The Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant Maialino, known for Roman dishes such as cacio e pepe and roast suckling pig, announced that it would be coming back in a temporary location, called Maialino (vicino) at the Redbury Hotel in NoMad in the fall. The original Maialino opened at the Gramercy Park Hotel in 2009.

Like others, both the restaurant and the hotel shut in March 2020. But the hotel, owned by Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty, ended up in a lawsuit over unpaid rent and stayed shuttered.

Moving to the Redbury presented an opportunity to bring back the original Maialino’s energy, according to a representative. Eventually, Maialino wants to return to the Gramercy Park Hotel but will stay at the Redbury Hotel until then.

A third restaurant has taken more than two years to get its Second Avenue location back up and running after March 2020. The 19-year-old seafood restaurant, Mermaid Inn-East Village had not worked out a rent deal with the landlord and was expected to close the site for good. But by the spring of 2021, the restaurant announced plans to reopen. Finally, on July 18, blog EV Grieve noted that signage had gone up on the window, announcing hiring plans. The owners are simultaneously working on a project much bigger than their original 29-seat location on Second Ave: a 15,500-square-foot restaurant at 127 W. 43rd St. in Times Square. They also operate three other locations, in Chelsea, Greenwich Village and on the Upper West Side.

Source: Crain’s New York Business