The news that Throggs Neck Clipper Bar and Restaurant, an East Tremont establishment for two full decades, will be closing soon, was met with disbelief by its many faithful patrons.
Peadar and Eileen Tierney, the owners of the popular packed Irish pub announced the bad news on its Facebook page on Wednesday, June 21, citing a dispute with their landlord.
“The Throggs Neck Clipper will be closing her doors on July 29th for the last time, due to the fact that we could not come to an amicable arrangement with the landlord. We have no other option,” the post stated.
It went on to thank their patrons and their staff for their 20 years of business.
The site manager for the limited liability corporation that owns the corner property at 3599 – 3607 E. Tremont Avenue, J.A.S. Holdings Corporation, said the decision to boot the popular tenant was purely a financial one. He asked not to be identified, citing threats that he’s received.
“They haven’t paid their bills since October 2015 and they are being evicted,” the property’s rep said.
His family was involved a lengthy court battle with the Clipper until a judge ordered the restaurant to vacate the premises by the end of next month, he added.
“They decided they could stay for free, which is clearly not an option,” he said. There’s nothing personal about it, it’s just business – they decided not to pay their rent and their bills and that’s why they’re getting out.”
On Facebook, Clipper management confirmed that a financial matter was settled in court with a stipulation that they close by the end of July 2017.
However, the restaurant post added that they were served with an illegal 30-day eviction notice even though their obligations to the landlord were up to date.
They also stated that the requested rent increase for 3699 E. Tremont Avenue was too steep to stay in business.
The landlord said he has been advised by his attorney not to respond to any of the Clipper’s Facebook comments.
The spot on the corner of East Tremont Avenue and Sullivan Place is highly coveted, and is already drawing interest, he said.
“We recently had Burger King call us,” he said.
Several medical firms expressed interest in the location for an MRI facility, and another for a dialysis center.
“It’s been 20 years since that spot has been available so we’re going to look for the best available tenant. We’d like to put something there the community would love to have,” he said.
The building has two other tenants: Classic Hair and Nail Salon and Casa Restaurant and Lounge which leases an additional spot on the Sullivan Place side for party rentals.
Both of these tenants replaced earlier tenants the landlord forced out.
Longtime neighborhood resident Joe Vento said he was heartbroken that his favorite neighborhood eatery that he had frequented since it opened would be closing.
“You always knew you would get a solid meal there,” Vento said. “Now the staff is going to be out of work and that’s terrible. They have a nice business, and it’s just sad they couldn’t come to some kind of agreement.”
Throggs Neck Merchant’s Association president Bobby Jean said he had heard conflicting stories and did not want to speculate on the cause of the closing.
He said the restaurant’s shuttering was a loss for the community, and that he had fond memories of taking his father there regularly to eat before he passed away last year.
“The Clipper is a place where families go to eat and drink and talk with their friends,” Jean said. “The owners have been good to the neighborhood for a long time.”
Jean said he was concerned that while there was only one vacant storefront on East Tremont 10 years ago, there are now more than 25.
“We need to figure out why that’s happening,” he said.
Incoming Community Board 10 chairman Peter Sullivan also lamented the loss of the popular eatery.
“The Tierneys are great people and they are going to be greatly missed,” he said.
Several other restaurants have occupied that corner since WW 2, includind Tom’s Villa Bianca, New Paradise Island Chinese Restaurant and Don Filipo’s Mexican Restaurant.
Calls to Clipper manager Eileen Tierney for comment were not returned by press time.