New York City restaurant ordered to stop building 2-story outdoor dining structure after locals complained

A photo shows a two-story outdoor dining shed under construction in NYC's Lower East Side.
Photo shared by the L.E.S. Dwellers group of The Izakaya NYC’s outdoor dining structure. L.E.S Dwellers
  • Manhattan restaurant The Izakaya NYC ceased construction on a two-story dining structure.

  • A neighborhood group took to Twitter to call for the partially built structure to be removed.

  • Two-story outdoor dining areas are not allowed in NYC, and the restaurant has ceased construction.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A New York City restaurant halted construction on a two-story dining shed after a local community group and neighbors launched complaints.

On Thursday, a community group based in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood, L.E.S. Dwellers, shared photos on Twitter of a two-story outdoor dining area found near the Manhattan restaurant The Izakaya NYC.

While many restaurants in New York City built outdoor, covered seating areas to accommodate diners in line with restrictions on indoor dining in 2020 and earlier this year, the structure set up outside of The Izakaya NYC was being built to include an upper level – a move that appeared to anger some locals.

A two-story outdoor dining structure in a curb lane in New York City.

The owner of the restaurant that built the two-story dining structure said construction has been halted on it following complaints. L.E.S Dwellers

Along with pictures of The Izakaya NYC’s structure, L.E.S. Dwellers tweeted: “What the actual f***? A 2 Floor shed being built!” L.E.S. Dwellers also said in the tweet that the organization filed a formal complaint with New York City’s 311 non-emergency services.

Yudai Kanayama, owner of The Izakaya NYC, told the New York Post that he had plans to build the double-decker shed, but stopped because “people were talking s—.”

Kanayama then decided to transform the top area of the structure into “just a rooftop with skylights – no more seating,” but that plan was halted as well, the New York Post reported.

A 311 Service Request Status viewed by Insider showed that a complaint about The Izakaya NYC’s outdoor dining structure was filed on Thursday. According to the request, the Department of Transportation – which controls the Open Restaurant Program that allowed outdoor dining – inspected The Izakaya NYC and ordered the restaurant to remove the upper platform immediately.

“While we celebrate Open Restaurants, dangerous structures on our streets are unacceptable,” a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation told the New York Post. “DOT will require any unsafe structures to be removed immediately.”

Photos of people walking by covered outdoor dining tents in New York City.

People in New York City walk by outdoor dining tents lined on the street. (The Izakaya NYC, the restaurant mentioned in the story, is not pictured here.) Noam Galai/Getty Images

Curbed reported that residents on the Lower East Side have become frustrated with the many outdoor dining spaces placed in the neighborhood. In September 2020, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made outdoor dining permanent by extending the Open Restaurants Program, allowing eateries to use sidewalks and curb lanes as eating spaces.

On Twitter, L.E.S. Dwellers said that outdoor dining structures have contributed to an uptick in noise.

“The sheds have literally turned the LES into the Wild West. Partying & chaos that started in the sheds & interiors extends into the streets during & after hours,’ L.E.S. Dwellers said in another tweet.

“Many of us don’t live in lux gated towers in the sky w/ soundproof windows & all the quality of life privileges that come w/ living in walled off, self-contained city-burbs,” the community group wrote in a separate tweet. “NYC is a maze of distinct neighborhoods & what works for your area is not the same elsewhere.”

Representatives for The Izakaya NYC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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