The small business carnage that has been taking place on Vernon Boulevard appears to be mounting with Tutti Matti, formerly Testaccio, likely to have closed.
Tutti Matti, an Italian restaurant located at 47-30 Vernon Blvd., notes on its Facebook page that it has permanently closed. Yelpers report it closed and one source close to the restaurant said that employees have been let go and calls to the restaurant went unanswered. However, on its door there is a sign that reads “temporarily closed…we miss you!”
The apparent closure of Tutti Matti comes months after the owner’s deal to sell the restaurant to new proprietors—who planned to put in a sports bar—fell through.
Many restaurant owners cite climbing rents for why they have departed. When Junior’s closed in April after being at 46-18 Vernon Blvd for about 20 years, owner Junior DiCaprio, said: “The landlord put the rent up on me and we couldn’t afford to stay.”
Brian Porter, the owner of LIC Bar and Gantry LIC, said part of the reason for the closures is that some business owners are being asked to pay high rents. However, he also noted that the number of restaurants that have opened in recent times seems to have outpaced the influx of residents to the area. “Too many restaurants have come into the neighborhood too soon and I think many of the buildings are not fully occupied.”
“I think a lot of restaurant owners are feeling the pinch,” Porter said.
Several restaurants near Vernon Blvd have also shut down in recent times. These include Station LIC (now Jacksons) as well as RePubLIC50 (formally OpenDoor) located at 50th Avenue. Meanwhile, PokeLICious (Beer Closet) closed on 51st Avenue earlier this year.