Bay Ridge Food Cart Manager Says He Won’t Leave Block Despite Pressure From Businesses

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a case of street vendor vs. local businesses in Brooklyn. A turf war is brewing in Bay Ridge, where some local brick and mortar stores are saying one cart is causing trouble.

The corner of 86th Street and 5th Avenue becomes a popular place to grab something quick to eat at lunch time.

“It’s great and it’s fresh and they’re very sweet and they’re very pleasant to deal with,” resident Maria Hernandez said.

The halal food cart at the location has been on the same corner for the past three years, but in the past three months, some local businesses have been vocal about getting the cart to leave.

They’re kind of taking away from all the local businesses — Burger King, McDonald’s, the pizzeria, the Pork Store, everyone,” Tony Gentile, owner of the Lone Star Bar, told CBS 2’s John Schriffen.

Gentile’s establishment is down the block from the cart and he said it is ruining the neighborhood’s quality of life.

“You can’t come down the block half the time because the corner is so crowded. There’s filth all over the floors,” he said.

The manager of the cart disagrees and claims he’s the one being harassed when the local businesses call the city to have his permits checked.

“I feel like an animal. I feel like I’m not being respected like a human being. I’m a tax-paying business like anybody else. I’m a good citizen,” manager Sammy Kassen said.

Kassen is now fighting back. His lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the owner of the the Lone Star Bar for allegedly making false claims.

He is also asking for support from the community and has posted a sign asking all fans to join the cart’s Facebook page.

“For people to make complaints, saying it’s dirty and it shouldn’t be here, I don’t see what the problem is,” Bay Ridge resident Katrina Puccini said.

Kassen, who insists his permits are up to date and that he’s allowed to stay on the block, said he has no plans on leaving and hopes everyone can learn to get along.

What do you make of this controversy?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Ahmed

    These cart owners also have to abide by certain laws governing where they can stay. So they dont just go put it anywhere they feel like. There are laws as to where a cart can be put. So before you say they NEED to move check your City laws so you dont sound like a complete moron. Store owners can complain about losing business but there is no guarntee that your place of business will stay booming. For all they know I can open up a bagel shop on 86 and 5th and attract all customers. Everyone will go for what they want, maybe the food carts do not need to deal with the FDNY but they do have health inspectors who will fine them for any simple violation. Also, atleast you can see your food being made in front of you instead of other shops around the area which are rat infested. Examples would be be Burger King and the Pizza wagon. Again, if they abide by City laws and pass the inspections they are put through whoever opposes them is waisting thier time. Lets all go get some gyros!

  • Steve

    It appears as if Lonestar is really the only business that has a problem with the food trucks. It is not true that the area near the carts is filthy, and if the carts are stealing business from brick and mortar businesses, so be it. IMHO, this Tony just sounds like a whiner. Give up, dude, before you lose what customers you have.

  • Andy

    Its clear you people have not owned a business in the area and are unaware of the extreme WAR that is being waged on them by these alphabet agencies who live to kill the small biz owner. Water has been turned into a utility where some establishments are paying thousands quarterly to keep the doors open. Then you have the DOB, FDNY, SLA, Health Department and Sanitation who ticket and fine on a regular basis. These are obstacles our vendor does not have to overcome and I do feel for the brick and motar group.

  • sinverguenza

    Same goes for you Tony, Don’t like it move your bar. Seems like a lot of people would be happy if you did

  • lala

    Fergie, the only vermin is the poison you spill out of your mouth. Why don’t you build a bigoted community with walls around it and keep your ass in there forever, so the rest of us don’t have to deal with you. For your information I used to work in a posh health joint in the city where all these preppy people used to come and eat. Little did they know they where grilling roaches on the same grill where they used to grill their chicken.

  • lala

    Jelousy has an ugly face. The cart cant help it if its offering a better product. He has as much right as any other business there.

  • Fergie

    Lies. The Lonestar is very careful and checks everyone’s id carefully. It has been there for years and would be stupid to serve underage just to make a few bucks. It’s clientele is an older crowd so stop your lying.

    The food carts are blocking the sidewalks, permits or no permits. They need to be removed. You can’t just pick a spot wherever you choose and set up a cart. It’s takes away from the look of the neighborhood.

    Stay in your own country wherever that is where they do that. You come here and think you can do whatever you want. BS.

    And who in their right mind would eat from a truck on the street anyway? Who know what kind of bugs or vermin is in that truck? Yuck.

    • Joey

      “Stay in your own country wherever that is where they do that. You come here and think you can do whatever you want. BS.”

      *cough cough RACIST cough cough*

      The food carts aren’t blocking sidewalks. The only way a person would actually be unable to pass by the halal stand is if he/she was so fat that they literally couldn’t squeeze through the roughly fifteen-twenty feet of empty space available to walk through. Neither I nor any human being I have ever met has had this problem. I have not met you however, Fergie, and as far as I know, perhaps you do have this problem. If so, perhaps hanging around halal carts or other food joints isn’t what you want to be doing.

      This cart is very clean and the food is fantastic. The people are nice and the prices are reasonable. Of course, since Fergie is saying things like “Stay in your own country” in relation to the halal cart owners, perhaps she’s speaking metaphorically when she refers to “vermin”. Classy.

      I’ve never been to Lonestar so I can’t comment on the allegations of underage drinkers. That said, the halal cart isn’t “taking away from local businesses” because it IS a local business. That said, if Mr. Gentile is losing business to a halal owner, perhaps instead of throwing a temper tantrum, he should focus his energy on making his business better and more attractive. If you’re whining that the local competition is “stealing” your customers, then that tells me that you are a terrible business owner running an awful business and that there is no reason for me to ever spend a dime on your low quality, sub-standard, overpriced product. Grow up or shut up.

      The halal cart is awesome. Stop whining about imaginary bugs, being unable to compete with them, or about how they’re foreign. It makes you look stupid.

  • Monica

    You are serving minors in your saloon.

  • Nikki Elizabeth

    This cart is the best thing that’s ever happened to Bay Ridge. I went to Fort Hamilton, in performing arts. On days I stayed in school until 10pm at night, the cart was there for a quick bite and was cheap. The guys at the cart know my name, are personable, funny, very kind & sweet. They become your neighbors. There is NO filth whatsoever around. I get food from them at least three times a week during my rush to and from college.

    The cart isn’t causing any kind of problems.
    They’re the ones being harassed.

    Don’t even get me started on the bar full on underage drinkers and no good kids.

  • Mikeybklyn

    F’in Gindaloons.

  • Jade

    Quality of Life Issues? That bar created a huge backyard that stays open all night, has large screen t.v.s, bbqs, etc. All fine if your partaking; but what about the homeowners and residents who now deal with cheering, drinking, smoking and carrying on within 100 feet of their bedrooms every day? Unlikely people are eating from the food truck instead of your business — 2 different animals. If there are legitimate issues then deal with them legitimately. Did you think no on would notice the bench in front of Lonestar is missing?

    • Tony

      Aaaaay! You don’t like it, move.

      • Jade

        You realize people bought and lived in those houses for decades before you moved your bar outside and sunk their current value even lower than the 2008 crash could, right?

  • BayRidge Betty

    The owner of Lonestar Tony needs to be more concerned with the fact that he is serving alcohol to minors on a consistent basis as opposed to harassing the food cart vendors.

    That place is trash. It is a usual sight to see 15-18 yr olds in his bar getting WASTED. He’s the “bouncer”, he lets them in. Being from the neighborhood, I stopped in and saw very very young girls in there drinking and was immediately turned off.

    Try obeying the law with regards to the Legal Drinking Age, Lonestar

    • Tony

      We ONLY let the hot chicklets in, capiche?

      • Dimsum Harry

        Can I get some numbers?

        • sinverguenza

          Lol Tony. You seem like someone that can’t be taken seriously.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live