May 17, 2021 | 10: 29pm | Updated May 17, 2021 | 10: 29pm
Brooklyn Chop House owners Stratis Morfogen, Robert “DP” Cummins and Dave Thomas.
The biggest restaurant bargain in town for most black-owned business is in the center of Times Square, and it was made possible by a massive COVID rental discount.
Brooklyn Chop House (think upscale Chinese fulfills traditional American steakhouse) has inked a deal to move into a 25,000-square-foot space on West 47northeast Street. It is slated to start in September, coinciding with the long-awaited reopening of Broadway theaters.
BCH will have 650 chairs, including 150 on a rooftop that will be under a new $250,000 retractable pay Customers can order everything from a four-pound, salt-and-pepper ginger lobster, seven-pound Peking ducks or three-ounce dry aged Porterhouse steaks.
“Deals like this are usually only available to Fortune 500 companies because the landlords ask for millions of dollars up front for rent,” said Robert”Don Pooh” Cummins, a music exec turned restaurateur as he led this reporter on a tour of this construction earlier this month.
The former renter, openly traded Buffalo Wild Wings, vacated the distance at the onset of the pandemic, leaving behind a $15 million build-out.
“They handed in the keys early in the pandemic and just walked away, leaving everything behind — even hundreds of bottles in the liquor cabinets and all the big screen TVs,” said Stratis Morfogen, BCH’s operations manager .
BWW also left a $850,000 Jumbotron that may be used by clients to burst marriage proposals or birthday wishes, and from liquor companies or other advertisers, Morfogen explained.
At the time BCH started negotiating the deal this past year, Times Square was a ghost city, he noticed. “I’d drive in and be the only person in Times Square. The garage where I parked my car was down from 1,800 cars a day to 35.”
Negotiating a bargain throughout the lockdown had been a risk, but that is if the best deals were made, said James Famularo, president of retail leasing at Meridian Capital Group, that repped both BCH and the landlord, Friedland Properties.
Cummins initially rejected a 10-year lease offer and wound up with a 20-year lease plus a base rent that was”50 percent less” than that which Buffalo Wild Wings paid, he said. The rent will grow based on earnings, but is capped at a certain stage, which Cummins declined to define.
“All we have to do now are cosmetic changes — like turning the roof into a Hamptons-in-the-city kind of beach lounge,” said Cummins, who got his start working with mu