Maxwell’s closed, then was looted, and now might be done

As if the coronavirus hadn’t done enough damage already to Maxwell’s, the restaurant on Reade was ransacked on Monday night, with looters breaking through the two front doors and trashing the bar. And now, the owners are giving serious consideration to tossing in the towel.

“There wasn’t much to steal, but they beat the place up pretty good,” said Alex Tortolani, who opened the restaurant in the former Spaghetti Western space with local firefighter Mike Casey in 2011. “We were trying to figure out a way to reopen after COVID but we weren’t ready for this curveball.”

For Maxwell’s — and for all of our restaurants and bars — it’s not as simple as sweeping up the broken glass. (I made an easy assumption and offered him TC readers’ help for whatever he needed; he declined till he knew better how they would move forward.) They thought there might be some sort of rent abatement from the landlord or rent relief from the city, or a discussion on how property tax will be collected. Then there’s the customers: Maxwell’s business model counts on the workers in the federal office buildings and courthouses nearby at lunchtime and happy hour, along with local residents. And it seems certain that all of them will be gone through September.

Then there’s the building itself, which in the 30s housed the original Maxwell’s: “It was built in 1890 and is deteriorating. We were about to take out a line of credit to make capital improvements to the space (new HVAC, kitchen exhaust and refrigeration) prior to the pandemic. At this point though we aren’t comfortable on taking any loans out on the business we would have to personally guarantee.”

So there’s no firm answer — they are not for sure done — but it’s complicated and so far, there’s no easy path back to turning on the lights.

“We had a great run in Tribeca,” Alex said. “If this is how it has to end we are at peace with it.”



  1. Justice for Floyd?

  2. So sad to hear this. Maxwells was a great local spot. Not pretentious, friendly staff. We will be sad to see it go :(

  3. last place we ate before they shut down the whole city before the virus

  4. Place was consistent with nice service and a good crowd. Very sad if they are indeed closing for good. Hopefully the damage was negligible and they can find a way to open up again with insurance claims.

  5. THis is not part of the protest. THese are people taking advantage of that to hurt local businesses. The police have failed us on both sides of this issue. Instead of arresting protesters after the curfew they should have been monitoring the streets. They followed a bunch of millennials around protesting while rome burned from organized crime and opportunists

  6. The fact that so many protesters were also looters says a lot about the kind of people they are. Why take their word for anything?