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Ernesto’s Temporarily Closed

November 1, 2014

by Alexander Horton

The restaurant at 850 Madison Ave. has been temporarily shut down. Ernesto’s on Madison was directed  to cease and desist all activity at the new restaurant after a fire call on October 21 for a broken water pipe. The tenant upstairs has also been temporarily evicted until the building is declared safe for occupancy, according to city records. The city Department of Buildings and Regulatory compliance found Ernesto’s in violation of three regulations:  the building is unsafe and unfit, and has both plumbing and electrical system hazards.

The restaurant owners must secure a certificate of completion for work at the property before it may reopen, and the water, gas and electric must be turned back on before the upstairs tenant may return.

Ernesto's has been temporarily closed/ Alex Horton

Business owner Mario Brendenburg told The Pine Hills blog that Ernesto’s plans on reopening at the 850 Madison address when all repairs are complete.

“We can do all the repairs and plan on re-opening as soon as those are done,” said Brendenburg. According to a report provided by Thomas Dillon from the city Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance, Ernesto’s requires a licensed plumber to “assess and evaluate all plumbing issues and obtain permit for required work.” The business must obtain the necessary permits for a licensed electrician to work on the deficiencies.

A man who answered the phone at the number of restaurant co-owner Daniella Stacchini said the business is looking to expand to the location of the former Green Leaf Café at 217 Western Ave. at the Quail Street intersection, but that building’s owner, Anthony Sabatino, said that Ernesto’s does not plan to move into the building. “It is just a rumor, I am looking to put in a nice Mexican restaurant or maybe a burger place,” Sabatino said.

“I’m looking to enhance the neighborhood,” he said. “There won’t be any pizza at that location, I wouldn’t jeopardize the surrounding pizza places like that.”

The Green Leaf shut down in August after opening almost two years ago in October 2012. It started off successfully but Sabatino, the cafe’s landlord,  was “disappointed” and didn’t believe “the business could go the distance.”

Before Green Leaf the space was occupied by the old Pepper Jack’s restaurant, a popular and  successful sandwich shop that operated in that spot for 10 years before moving to its current location at 192 North Allen St.

“We tried working with the owner to acquire the building, but he just wouldn’t sell,” said Chris Soden, who is co-owner of Pepper Jack’s. Soden said the restaurant needed a larger space with parking. -30-

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