The trials of opening a restaurant in New York City

Via Instagram DMs, I’ve been in touch with Moreno Cerutti, who along with his wife and business partner, Christina Andres-Cerutti, took the former Girello space at 11 Varick at Franklin as their second location for Osteria Carlina Tribeca. The couple opened the first Osteria Carlina in December 2021 at Hudson and Morton; with other partners, Moreno also runs San Carlo Osteria Piemonte on Thompson.

The new restaurant already looks charming both outside and in, but the process has been anything but. They have been working on this since February 2022, they were approved by the community board in March 2022, and by April 2022, they were full steam ahead. This past January they were dealing with ConEd issues in the building that weren’t even connected to their space but hogtied them nonetheless. And more recently it’s been the SLA, which has not approved their license yet.

As of Jan. 11, they had just five days of work left, but still no gas. As of March 30, the SLA was wrangling with issues at Walker’s, which had the space in its former incarnation. They were aiming at that point for April 10…

It has to make you think twice if you are a small business owner in this town as we have witnessed from other local ventures that were delayed for reasons they could not control: Caliza, Café Clementine, Max, lots more that are just not springing to mind.

“We are getting crazy with this project — one year!” Moreno said, and then summed it all up: “Mamma mia!!!”



  1. Its really insane… I get regulations, but this is absurd.

  2. Something is completely broken.

    If you operate a legitimate business, follow the law and pay taxes (sales, employer, income, etc.) you will be hounded with regulation, overzealous enforcement and red-tape. One the other hand, if you openly ignore the laws and sell stolen/counterfeit goods on Canal Street or operate an unlicensed weed shop the city leaves you alone.

    If a business puts their garbage out at 7:30pm instead of 8pm they’ll suffer more enforcement repercussions than the guy who robs the same business at 7:31pm.

    • Thomas – WELL PUT!!! Almost makes you feel like you’re the idiot for following the Rules.. Sad…
      City really needs to fix it…

    • I agree 100%

    • Well said. My sentiments exactly.
      It’s a disgrace.

      Police walk right by the counterfeiters and do nothing.

      Meanwhile our building has been fined multiple times for trash – typically one small piece of litter, that was not yet removed by the super (who does clean the front multiple times daily…but obviously cannot check it every minute).

  3. If the license wan’t approved why did they go ahead with the work? Seeing as it is their 2nd restaurant it’s hard to feel any sympathy. They are like all the others in Tribeca and the Village….mom and pop’s who keep opening more restaurants while the public keeps thinking they are suffering. Only the ignorant might think that the restaurants in this neighborhood are facing hard times. Never has it been better for the industry, and if that wasn’t the case everyone wouldn’t keep expanding. I was born in this neighborhood and I worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years.

    • You clearly have not the slightest basic understanding of how the process works. Unfortunately I can’t possibility explain it over this message but I’ll tell you this, you can’t get license without having secured a space and furthermore the SLA will require you to submit pictures of the restaurant to make sure it’s complete and ready to go before they give final approval therefore same thing with DOB, there is no point of applying for any license prior to signing the lease. And on the other hand, unless you just like to through words of hate at honest hard working people, the hospitality industry has never been tougher than today. The only thing that has improved is that the staff is getting paid more and the hours of labor are compensated which it was not the case a few years ago. Since you’ve worked in the industry for over 20 years, I suggest you truth opening one yourself and truly see what this article is all about and the comments here above. We often complain how the mom and pop stores are disappearing but you don’t seem to have empathy for them despite them creating new jobs for your fellow pears in the industry.
      Just saying….

  4. Maybe they should say they are doing business as a smoke shop… maybe their paperwork will get expedited and approved.

  5. Does anyone know why issues with Walker’s (the former tenant in that space) would slow down the SLA process? I keep hearing about delays by SLA in issuing liquor licenses causing delays in opening restaurants, but I’m not familiar with the process or the criteria. And yeah, a year seems crazy!

  6. If we want our city and community to be healthy we need local small businesses to thrive – they pay taxes, keep eyes on the street, and make for a far more vibrant community. Our role is to educate our community board, city council rep, and mayor to not make it any more difficult than it already it is to run a small biz, streamline approvals, and stop the red tape. We can also patronize our local shops and welcome those who bravely open a new place in our community. if the small businesses close we will all suffer.