Why L’asso Pizza on Mott Street Won’t be Reopening

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

There is no hope for L’asso Pizza.

After our last article about its sudden demise, the comments section overheated with accusations that the closure was only temporary to correct an alleged “gas leak” at 192 Mott Street. And that the blacked-out signage was graffiti related. Needless to say, the shop remains gated and dormant. It’s not coming back.

Two former employees are speaking out about the behind-the-scenes of what really went down at the eleven-year-old pizzeria. It was in mid-July when the first cracks started to appear at 192 Mott Street. The closure at the end of the month (July 25), and subsequent “renovation period,” was apparently the result of a failed Department of Health inspection. At the time, city inspectors levied 47 violation points for mouse infestation, among other things.

This image has been archived or removed.

The restaurant did return for a brief, post-DOH period, yet didn’t survive the summer.

The alleged gas leak did happen, and is confirmed by DOB records, but there might be more than meets the eye. Employees allege the shutoff was more a function of the business owing Con Edison upwards of $8,000 in outstanding charges. And could explain why the utility was not restored. Disconnect notices were issued.

This image has been archived or removed.

Furthermore, the last manager, Dexter Love, emailed the remaining staff not too long ago with the following message – “Sorry to inform everyone, but [owner] Rob [Benevenga] has decided to close L’asso … as for now it’s closed indefinitely.”

Apparently, the final days weren’t too pretty.

“After reopening for the last two months the owner fully fled of his business responsibilities leaving the two managers to accept cash only and pay all vendors, employees out of the cash in house,” our source, who asked to remain anonymous, tells us. “Each day’s mail would bring certified letters from the NYS Department of Labor and various other violations that just got thrown to the side.”

Regarding the latter, we are also told that several former employees recently filed unpaid wage claims, which is what reportedly went down at the East Village location when it closed a few years ago.

Recent Stories

At Belse, the New Vegan Brewery on the Bowery

Belse, the Texas-based vegan brewery and restaurant, is now in business on the Bowery. The Lone Star State transplant – officially, Belse Plant Cuisine – takes 11,000 square-feet at 265-267 Bowery, in what was previously the fleeting home of the Paulaner Brauhaus brewery. The renovated space features three sections – a restaurant, bar, and Garden […]

East Village Artist M. Henry Jones, Contemporary of Keith Haring, Dies

M. Henry Jones, a member of the East Village arts scene for over forty years, died last week (either June 16 or 17) at the age of 65. We’re told, though unconfirmed, the cause of death was a form of cancer. Jones was a neighborhood fixture for decades, in part, because of his storefront studio […]

Under the Floorboards at Long-Vacant East Houston Lot

Bereft of substantial activity in nearly two decades, the long-vacant parcel at 49 East Houston Street is in deterioration overdrive. An eagle-eyed tipster notes that the floorboards atop the existing foundation are now busted. Creating a pseudo entryway into the cellar level. Before its demise fourteen years ago, 49 East Houston had been a one-story […]

Developer Begins Demolition of Rutgers Street Playground for Temporary Parking Lot

Demolition work began this week on a Lower East Side park that is a focal point in the tension between the community and developers on the waterfront. The backhoes are out and job now underway at Rutgers Park, the small public space beside the Lands End II residential development. Removal of the playground began yesterday, including […]

The 3 Lower East Side Walk-ups that Sold for $35M

Earlier this month, we reported that SMA Equities, the Long Island real estate firm with controversial history on the Lower East Side, sold a portfolio of its area properties. SMA unloaded three tenement walk-ups to Daniel Fishman of GAIA Real Estate – 102 Norfolk Street, 177 Ludlow Street, and 99 Allen Street – for an […]