Editorial: Save mom and pop from scam suits

Just in case anyone was thinking that things are just too easy these days for proprietors of small businesses in this city, here is yet more proof that their problems are a lot bigger than Amazon and changing consumer preferences.

Many mom-and-pop shops, who already face an uphill battle thanks to the uncertainty of lease renewals, endless fees and fines from the city and rising rents, generally cannot afford to get tangled up in lengthy litigation battles. So it wasn’t surprising to learn that at least a couple of local businesses blinked when threatened by a potential lawsuit from a serial plaintiff charging discrimination against the disabled.

Access for wheelchair users and other people with mobility challenges is very much a real issue; one that is thankfully finally getting some attention thanks to a recent lawsuit that is trying to stop the L train shutdown.

That litigation has already successfully drawn attention to the willful ignoring of the needs of the disabled to get around the city on mass transit like anyone else. However, that isn’t what was filed by plaintiff Arik Matatov, a wheelchair-using man and his attorney, against dozens of small businesses in Manhattan, while, the New York Post revealed last week, he can actually walk.

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This restaurant flipper says he’ll be keeping the East Side Diner

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Nick Kaloudis comes from a family in the restaurant business. His cousin is the owner of Tivoli. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After nearly four decades, the East Side Café on East 23rd Street, west of First Avenue, closed earlier this summer. However, unlike so many Manhattan businesses that have been shutting their doors for good, this was just temporary, with the place sold, renovated and then re-branded as the East Side Diner. Technically, the place had always been a diner, so the name change was simply a matter of hammering home what the places does, according to the new owner, Nick Kaloudis.

Kaloudis, 38, comes from a family long ensconced in the diner biz; his cousin Gus Kassimis is the owner of the soon-to-be-opened Tivoli at the former Lyric Diner space on Third Avenue.

Together, Kaloudis and other family members have purchased 17 diners around the city, and whenever possible the properties they’re in. However, Kaloudis flips the businesses rather than run them. The East Side Diner, however, will be different. This is the first time he’s purchased a business on his own due to the former owner, Spiros Mouzakitis, wanting to retire.

“He’s been on the same block for 38 years,” explained Kaloudis. “After a while you’re tired of 15-16 hour shifts.”

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Tivoli owner agrees to remove word ‘bar’ from new cafe’s sign

Tivoli’s owner said there would be no stand-up bar and the establishment would close at midnight, which calmed some concern from neighbors that the place could become a college watering hole. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tivoli’s owner said there would be no stand-up bar and the establishment would close at midnight, which calmed some concern from neighbors that the place could become a college watering hole. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The owner of the new Tivoli restaurant on Third Avenue has agreed to remove the word “bar” from his signage in exchange for the support of the community in his application for a full liquor license at the incoming establishment.

Owner Gus Kassimis voluntarily agreed to the change last Thursday at a meeting held by Community Board 6’s Business Affairs and Street Activities committee, which voted to approve the application.

Kassimis also agreed that the restaurant, which is replacing the popular Lyric Diner, would not have a stand-up bar. He also said in his application that the business would be closing by midnight every day, which quelled neighborhood anxieties about the place’s potential to become rowdy college student hang-out.

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