Restaurant Closings: Santa Fe and 8th Hill

Santa Fe, the Southwestern restaurant at 73 West 71st Street, has closed “for now” because they can’t come to terms on rent with the landlord, according to a message on the restaurant’s website and answering machine. Santa Fe is family run and has been around for almost 40 years. It used to be on 69th Street. “We hope to see you in the neighborhood someday soon,” the message said. Thanks to Peter and JY for the tips.


Inside 8th Hill.

8th Hill, the Mediterranean restaurant that opened just last year in place of Isabella’s at 77th and Columbus Avenue closed suddenly a few days ago. It’s now listed as closed online, no one’s picking up the phone and the owner hasn’t responded to our inquiry. 8th Hill had developed “a steadily rising..ultimately outside clientele,” wrote neighbor Peter Wright “Then suddenly, poof, it went dark last Sunday night..apparently for good…no chairs or tables or chairs on the sidewalk…no comment or sign in the windows. Doors locked. Website is  now blank ( www.8thhillnyc.com) They will be missed.” Thanks to Peter, Logan, Naush, Scott and Tom for the tips.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 45 comments | permalink
    1. CrankyPants says:

      I bet Isabella’s and Scarletta could have made it thru the age of Covid. I miss them both!

      • Mike says:

        It’s hard to imagine any restaurant that didn’t make it before Covid would be able to make it now. Even if they were good, they closed for a reason.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        Wow. I thought Isabella’s was an overpriced tourist trap with a great patio.

    2. Tag Gross says:

      Santa Fe was one of the original restaurants that helped the UWS recover. From its original location and expansion to the move to 71st it was always excellent food and survived the changing neughborhood. It will be missed.

    3. UWSMillenial says:

      Somebody needs to turn the 8th Hill space into a classic French brasserie, complete with red leather banquets, mercury glass light fixtures, a black and white checkered floor, steak frites and onion soup, and red wine on tap. Please, somebody do this.

    4. Kevin says:

      Ironically I think 8th Hill did better business in these covid recovery days than before covid. But it’s a very large restaurant inside, and paying rent on that is no easy feat.

      And I’ll miss Santa Fe, I had some lovely margaritas there.

    5. AC says:

      8th Hill got tipped off about the decision of no dining indoors till next spring (at the earliest). It’s no coincidence that their last meal was right when the month ended. I expect to see many more restaurants closing within the next month or two. Outdoor dining will cease and it’s impossible to survive in a restaurant business. 🙁

      • B.B. says:

        Even with commendearing vast amounts of sidewalk and curb parking spaces, many restaurants still cannot accommodate same number of customers with outdoor dining as indoor.

        Also outdoor must end by 11PM IIRC, whereas indoor can (or could) go on much longer, even if the place only had bar open.

    6. Phyllis says:

      I will miss Santa Fe! Our favorite neighborhood restaurant!

    7. Enough says:

      Looks like the Pio Pio on 94th & Amsterdam is gone. Yesterday the logo was down and the restaurant was being dismantled.

      • Steve B says:

        No, see the other WSR story today. Pio Pio claims to be doing minor remodeling to accommodate outdoor dining and other COVID rules, and plan to reopen.

    8. curious says:

      i’m kind’ve baffled they cant reach some agreement with the landlord, especially in the cases where the restaurant has been around so long. who else does the landlord think is going to rent out the space in the next 6 months? i understand the resto cant pay much right now, but from the landlords perspective, take what you can get right now & hope the restaurant can return to full payments at a later date. otherwise, you have nothing

      if de blas & cuomo are hellbent on destroying every resto in this city, at the least, they should give landlord a property tax holiday – guessing that wont happen though

      • Alta says:

        Landlord would rather jack up the rent to an unbearable number, and then write off a huge tax loss on the empty space to offset gains from the building. Sometimes it’s cheaper and easier than actually having a tenant.

        • Gilligan says:

          That’s not how it works. Why do people believe this silliness?

          • Lauren says:

            I have no idea if it is true or not. But will guess that it is the only explanation anyone could come up with for why so many storefronts remain empty for so long, years sometimes. It just seems unfathomable and senseless. If there wasn’t some kind of benefit to the landlord, then why wouldn’t the landlords drop the price until it rented even if was at a loss after mortgage payments etc?

        • joe_the_accountant says:

          I’m not sure why so many uninformed people believe this. There is no tax break for empty storefronts.
          If you are a small landlord and one of your storefronts becomes empty or just stops paying rent you are still on the hook for $$$$ NYC property taxes and you need to scramble to figure out how you are going to pay your own mortgage and your kid’s college tuition.
          Please stop with the empty storefront equals tax break nonsense.

          • Ken says:

            “if you are a small landlord..” that’s probably true. Bit if you a huge REIT I suspect the situation is very different.

          • dangernyc says:

            Joe, I take your point and I can’t argue with you about tax law. But it begs the question, why are there thousands of empty storefronts in New York where landlords chose to kick out small businesses and forego rent for months and some cases years instead of offering concessions? What business rationale do they have for taking 0 cents on the dollar instead of 50? It can’t just be stupidity and/or arrogance.

        • Boris says:

          Can you show us numerically how that works? Give us the AFTER-TAX income numbers for the property rented vs. vacant. No, I didn’t think so.

        • Jean Luke says:

          I own a small building on UWS with a restaurant tenant and there is no write off or tax break if my restaurant tenant closes. It would be very harmful to have no tenant in retail the space as my taxes are 105k a year in addition to tons of other expenses.

          • citycatsman says:

            Then how do you explain why so many landlords refuse to compromise with commercial tenants so that their businesses can remain open? I know many do….,but so many don’t. What good does it do property owners to have vacant storefronts for extended periods….,.YEARS?

            • cpwpj says:

              Yes, I’d like to hear from developer Milstein about how closing the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, and keeping the theaters empty, has helped his bottom line. Aside from the bakery, he’s created a ghost block.

    9. B.B. says:

      Both Cuomo and BdeB are talking about banning indoor dining until a vaccine for covid-19 is out. What seems certain is that indoor dining won’t be coming back before the all important Jewish high holy days through Christmas/New Year holiday season.

      Outdoor dining expires at end of October IIRC. Even if it doesn’t unless NYC has a balmy fall and winter not many are going to be sitting outside dining in November or December.

      Terms of PPP loans expire October 1st, that means restaurants (or anyone else who got that money) will be free to start terminating employees.

    10. John says:

      Anyone hearing anything about Shun Lee on West 65th?

    11. Kevin S says:

      Such a bummer! I hope our local policymakers do everything they can to help support struggling restaurants through this time.

      • Boris says:

        Too much focus on restaurants. There are lots of other struggling businesses in peril. If there’s not enough income to go around overall, then restaurants won’t see many customers. All businesses matter.

    12. Ish Kabibble says:

      I wonder if the new scaffolding had any impact on this decision to close 8th Hill.

    13. Susan says:

      I am so sad to hear about Santa Fe. One of my favorite restaurants. When are landlords going to wake up and smell the roses. It’s time for a BIG RENT CORRECTION in NYC…even before the pandemic. ALL landlords should be helping their tenants and renegotiating leases and lowering rent. Its the right thing to do. Is our mayor taking a stand on this???

    14. liz says:

      Why Cuomo and De Blasio are singling out restaurants (no indoor dining) like this is beyond me; De Blasio has repeatedly said that restaurants are “for rich people.” Given that eating out is NYC’s favorite hobby, that’s ridiculous. What about the coffee shops, where old people who live alone and don’t cook take their meals ? And what about the employees who work in restaurants–where’s the sympathy for them? and the owners? Although many of their regulations are equally stupid, the negative impact of this on the city’s life and finances is unparalleled. True leaders would be working hard to restore restaurant dining to our city, not exorcising it.

    15. BJK says:

      If anyone ever re-opens the 8th Hill / Isabella’s location again, the new owner should get pre-approval before opening for outside dining. It took 8th Hill forever to open and then, when it did, they couldn’t get their act together to take advantage of their prime asset which is the outside area for dining. Probably the City’s permitting process that was at fault but that should be arranged before the new owner starts paying rent.

    16. Joe Rappaport says:

      Santa Fe is a great neighborhood restaurant and I hope they’re able to reach an agreement with their landlord or find another place soon. We’ll miss them and those powerful margaritas!

      I recently had a landlord dispute over extending my organization’s lease. Unfortunately, some landlords do not act rationally. Luckily, we were able to make it out and now are paying much less rent.

    17. DJay says:

      I really miss Cafe La Fortuna.

    18. Weird That Way says:

      Do you know how Woody Allen was said to dine at one restaurant only: Elaine’s? It was almost like that with me and Santa Fe. Crestfallen.

    19. B.B. says:

      New Jersey is allowing indoor dining Friday as of 6 a.m.

      Oh and movie houses are reopening as well.

      https://gothamist.com/news/coronavirus-updates-august-31-2020

    20. Susan H Llewelyn says:

      I’ve loved Santa Fe for years; my first visit was a week or so after it opened (on W. 69th), and had my first Margaritas there (in spite of which I have fond memories of the Enchiladas Suizas!).
      Like many other readers, I WISH landlords would come to their senses and realize that something is still better than nothing, even—and perhaps especially—in these
      Covid-19 days.

    21. Danny says:

      I think 8th Hill was just one hill too many. 7 Hills(my favorite), Pasha, Leyla, Gazala’s, and even Sido’s all offering great turkish/middle eastern food within a few blocks and they are all all less expensive than 8th Hill was.