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Another Long Island City Restaurant To Shutter, A Casualty of COVID-19

Corazon de Mexico, located at 10-09 50th Ave. (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Jan. 13, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

Another Long Island City restaurant is about to close due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Corazon de Mexico, a Mexican restaurant located at 10-09 50th Ave., will shutter on Jan. 22 after a near 3-year run, according to its owners.

Cynthia Shephard, who owns the restaurant with her mother Maria Iglesias, opened the business in May 2018 but the pair are no longer able to meet the monthly rent payments.

The ban on indoor dining has drastically reduced the duo’s revenue stream and their landlord continues to demand the full monthly rent of $13,000–despite the pandemic. They have failed to negotiate any type of reduction.

Shephard said that she has had to dip into her savings to make monthly rent payments– a predicament that is unlikely to change soon. She said the outlook for the industry remains bleak and the pair have finally decided to call it quits. LIC Talk was first to report about the impending closure.

“I’m very upset and discouraged, the winter killed us,” Shephard told the Queens Post. “It’s been hard, it’s impossible to survive and we still have no idea when indoor dining will reopen.”

Shephard said that the restaurant’s 2,400 square foot indoor dining space is now effectively useless. The area seats up to 100 people under normal circumstances and also has a room for private functions.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s outdoor space – which cost $4,000 to construct – only seats 10 people.

Corazon de Mexico’s outdoor dining area (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

To make matters worse, a major component of the business is its catering service which has been virtually wiped out due to limitations on indoor gatherings.

“Our strength was our catering aspect,” she said.

Shephard said that while the demand for takeout and deliveries has increased during the pandemic, it hasn’t come close to making up the shortfall.

“We have tried everything and we also won a short-term contract to make food for local pantries during the pandemic but that ended in September,” Shephard said.

The impending closure comes at a time when several other Long Island City eateries have closed. Corner Bistro, which was located on the corner of Vernon Boulevard and 47th Road, shut down in October, while the Creek and the Cave, the much-loved comedy club and restaurant located at 10-93 Jackson Ave., closed in November.

Dutch Kills Centraal, located at 38-40 29th St., shuttered in June.

Shephard said that her restaurant employed 20 people before the pandemic but now employs just five due to the reduction in business. These workers will be out of a job next week.

She is angered by the way the hospitality industry has been treated by the city and state throughout the pandemic. She said that operators have followed all the guidelines and made investments in outdoor areas and PPE equipment to keep customers safe.

“We are trying to do things the right way and are being thrown under the bus. We’ve been single out and shot in so many ways.”

Shephard pointed to neighboring Long Island and New Jersey where indoor dining is still permitted.

She said that there has also been a noticeable increase in State Liquor Authority officers inspecting local restaurants–and slapping owners with fines.

Shephard said that restaurants are accumulating a lot of debt just to survive the pandemic and is apprehensive about the future of the industry.

“Nothing is being done to help us and there is no talk about debt forgiveness,” Shephard said.

The duo also own a bakery in Woodside called La Adelita, located at 53-21 Roosevelt Ave. She said she will now focus on this business but is unsure as to what the future holds.

Corazon de Mexico’s indoor dining area that is closed (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Corazon de Mexico’s outdoor dining area (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

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