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High Restaurant Rents Stifle Nieporent Empire

One might expect that rising restaurant rents might prevent first-time chefs from opening on Spring Street, but apparently the situation is yet more dire. The NYSun reports that escalating lease costs are even holding back the city's restaurateur upper class. Witness:

"It's awful, the real estate right now. I would have 20 more restaurants in New York if the price of real estate was fair. It's not. Even in places where start-up restaurants used to find deals, areas such as the Lower East Side and Brooklyn, Mr. Nieporent said, "The rents are stupid ... It stifles innovation."Yes, Drew Nieporent, he of Nobu et al, is priced out. And we're all paying the price. Meantime, neighborhoods are paying a different price. Says NYC Zagat editor Curt Gathje, "They are really changing the whole landscape of affordable dining in New York. It is getting impossible to open a low-price restaurant for people, even in places like the Lower East Side."
· High Rents Force New Restaurants to Fringes [NYSun, sub req'd]