Yesterday Stage Restaurant, which shuttered nearly a year ago after its landlord accused it of an illegal gas hookup, announced that it was closing for good after 35 years in the East Village: “Over the past year, we have resolved our dispute with the landlord and Icon Realty Management,” owner Roman Diakun wrote on Facebook. “Stage Restaurant never engaged in any wrongdoing; however, after our prolonged closure and because of the cost to make the repairs and expenses of reopening, we are sad to say that the Stage cannot reopen.” Now, “gentrification in progress” tape has gone up on the diner’s storefront near the corner St. Marks and Second Avenue.
Street artist Gilf!, who’s been putting the tape up at bygone businesses like Williamsburg’s Nita Nita, also swaddled Trash & Vaudeville, per her Tumblr.
Icon started eviction proceedings against Stage last spring, after the Department of Buildings found that a gas line was “inappropriately accessed.” Diakun admitted to Bedford + Bowery that, in the wake of the deadly gas explosion across the street, a plumber had been working on his gas line without a permit, but said allegations that the restaurant had been siphoning gas were “absurd.”
On Facebook yesterday, Diakun thanked over 2,000 supporters who had signed a petition as well as those who had raised over $10,000 in an attempt to get his humble Eastern European diner back on its feet. “We could not have realized our passion and love for nourishing and providing a place of comfort and gathering to the community without you all.”