Kashkaval Cheese Market and Wine Bar (856 Ninth Avenue, 212-581-8282) has held down its slot of Hell’s Kitchen for 16 years, becoming a neighborhood gathering spot for its dairy emporium, small bites, and vino in the process. But its landlord has opted not to renew its lease, and so at the end of the month, it’ll shutter for good. Meanwhile, Kashkaval Garden (852 Ninth Avenue), which owners Daniel Assaf and Corey Samuels opened last summer next door to Kashkaval (but under a different landlord), will absorb some of what its older sibling did so well as it expands into an enclosed patio.
As for the closure, the partners say it’s been a long, hard process. “Last year, we received a letter from our landlord that they did not intend to renew our lease,” says Samuels. “There was no reason given, and we launched a campaign to get them to change their mind. We had over 3,600 people sign a petition. We spoke with our council member, Gail Brewer, who mediated a meeting last September. At the time, the landlord agreed to give us some extra time, but now we have to vacate by the end of the month.”
“We are good tenants, and we aren’t sure why we weren’t allowed to stay even when we were willing to pay market rent,” Assaf adds. “But we weren’t able to convince our landlord to change his mind, even though Gail Brewer knew him well. But at this point, it’s water under the bridge, and we’re closing.”
But even as the pair prepares to shutter that project, they’re expanding the space they own next door, where they’ve been waiting on approval to build out a garden that will have vertical gardens along the roof. Assaf says there’s good reason to believe they’ll have the final sign-off on those plans next month, which means the garden should open in July or August — and since they can enclose that space via a sliding glass door, it’ll be open year-round.
Kashkaval Garden can’t replace the original Kashkaval, the owners say: “Our original intention was to run both places,” says Samuels. “There are similarities, but we did make an emphasis that each was a unique place on its own. When we opened Kashkaval Garden, we were hoping to keep Kashkaval next door.” They will move some beloved items and popular dishes — like the turkey meatballs — over to the newer space, though, once Kashkaval has gone dark.
And during this last month, says Assaf, “we’re offering a drink voucher to anyone who dines at Kashkaval to use at Kashkaval Garden to try the new place.”
Pop in before May 24 if you’d like to say goodbye.