The owner of a cheap neighborhood favorite will close his restaurant after 45 years in Park Slope and Prospect Heights, citing a landlord-tenant dispute fueled by a nearby sports arena.
Paul Haye, who runs Christie’s Jamaican Patties on Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place, says he’ll close by January, claiming his landlord — who last spring welcomed embattled sports bar Prime 6 to the neighborhood — gave him the boot in order to collect higher rent from a new tenant, now that Barclays Center is closer to completion.
Then again, he might just be deliquent on rent, as the landlord, Lina Feng, countered in court documents.
“She’s trying to kick me out,” he said. “I don’t think it’s worth the stress; it’s killing me. I’ve had so many sleepless nights.”
The dispute is the latest evidence that small businesses may have trouble staying open near the arena, where the Nets will play basketball next season (if there is a season).
Businesses owners in Fort Greene and north Park Slope also report that landlords have doubled rent, citing proximity to the arena in new real-estate ads.
Christie’s opened in 1966 across the street from its current location, offering the tasty pastries — which one online reviewer called “the best damn patties on the planet” — along with its famous coco bread to neighbors on the go.
A particularly popular item was the patty on coco bread, though there are few diets that would permit it.
In 2006, Haye reopened at its current location, then scored a write-up in the New York Times, a Manhattan newspaper, which called the patties “practically a meal in itself.”
Even today, hungry neighbors can still buy the flaky meat-filled treat for just $2.
Recently, however, business has slowed and Haye admitted to being two months late on rent. He said he tried to pay it — but the building owner then presented him with two bills totaling $20,000 for tax and late fees and then sued.
Feng — who had a high-profile battle with Royal Video several years ago — did not respond to calls seeking comment. A woman who answered her cellphone last Thursday would say only, “He owes her a lot of money” before hanging up.
Haye now says he’s considering opening elsewhere.
“I put my whole life into this place,” he said with a sigh. “But I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore.”
Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.