EXCLUSIVE: After more than 30 years in the local restaurant scene, Chicken Masters’ owner Vinnie Mazzone has served his last piece of fried chicken in New York City, and closed up his Avenue Z shop for good.

But he’s not leaving because sales are slow or rent is high. He’s leaving, he told Sheepshead Bites, because New York City has taken all the joy, respect and honor out of running a small business.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said, hours before locking the doors for the last time. “I’m going to miss being a business owner of an established business. But I’m going out on my terms. I’m not being forced out of here. I didn’t go out because I couldn’t pay my bills. I’m going out because the writing is on the wall.”

That writing comes by way of inspection reports, sales tax audits, employment forms and a slew of other city- and state-mandated regulations that drive up costs and drive down morale.

“The atmosphere for a small businessman [30 years ago] was that you were treated with respect,” Mazzone said. “The government treated you with respect. They didn’t bother you. When the Health Department came in, they weren’t criminals. The whole atmosphere was just awesome and you were proud to be a small businessman.”

Now the government has turned hostile, working, he said, to wring money out of small businesses to fill city and state coffers.

“It’s evolved into a situation where I don’t feel I’m an independent business anymore, I feel like I’ve become a government employee without the benefits,” he said. “And instead of a CEO or CFO, I’m a CCO, which is a chief compliance officer.”

Vinnie’s Bay Station (Click to enlarge)

The change didn’t happen overnight. Mazzone has been in the business for three decades, beginning with stints at local joints including Jordan’s Lobster Dock, then diving into ownership with a tiny coffee shop adjacent to the Sheepshead Bay train station called Vinnie’s Bay Station – “the best little food house in the Bay,” he said.

After two more local ventures, a small fried chicken take-out joint on Avenue Z called Well Bred Chicken hit the market in 1997, and Mazzone snagged it and re-branded it as Vinnie’s Chicken Masters and compelled people to “Eat my chicken.”

“We had a three-foot-by-six-foot yellow background with green letters that said ‘Eat my Chicken!’ And when I flipped that light on, you should have seen the commotion around here. They went crazy!” he said of his opening day.

Years later he bought the property across the street – then a garment manufacturer staffed largely by Asian immigrants – and moved to his current location at 1201 Avenue Z.

Business has been good to him, providing enough money to live comfortably and support those around him.

“For 30 years, I created my own means of support and for countless, countless other people,” he said. “If I was ever to get everyone who ever worked for me, I’d need Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium and into Madison Square Garden. How many people!”

But the city has recently made that impossible. He points to the labyrinthine beauracracy of government agency overseeing small businesses, from the Health Department, to the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Finance to any one of the slew of agencies he’s now held accountable to.

And all of them, he said, are now under orders to wring revenue out of local businesses.

“The government used to say small businesses are the backbone of the economy. I don’t hear that no more. You didn’t bill that – that’s what I hear,” he said.

He calls the Health Department’s window displays a “Scarlet Letter,” and says of the unending parade of Bloombergian surcharges, “There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary government surcharge.”

Mazzone isn’t alone in his frustration with the city. New York is rated as the fifth worst state to own a small business. Salons are being fined for gender discrimination for pricing haircuts for men and women differently. Immigrant-dominated commercial strips are being hit for violations their non-English-speaking-owners don’t understand. And the number of fines given out every year is believed to have ballooned so much under Mayor Michael Bloomberg that Public Advocate Bill De Blasio is suing the city to release what he thinks will be damning data.

“They learn from the wiseguys,” Mazzone said of city administrators. “They learned how the wiseguys work, and now on the legal side they use it.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a city of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of small businesses that Mazzone says are being nickel-and-dimed to death.

“We pay our fair share. We contribute more tax money than anyone else. We contribute to the community, the schools, the churches, and now it’s all going to end,” he said. “They come after you like an animal.”

For Mazzone, the breaking point came recently, when he was hit with his second sales tax audit in just a few years. He said the new processes have a bias against long-established business owners who lack computer skills and still run their business the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper.

Rather than taking on the additional expense of hiring someone to handle the books electronically, or risk taking a fine from the city in the future, he chose to forego the headache altogether and close up shop.

Chicken Masters shut its doors for good on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m., and Mazzone kicked off a private party for friends and family, doling out free food, drinks and hugs to those who’ve helped him along the way.

But his story isn’t over. Mazzone is flying out to Santa Barbara, California, later this year, where he’ll begin a road trip across the country, gauging the business atmosphere in municipalities along the way. He plans to hit states well-known for their laissez-faire attitudes, including Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Kentucky.

“This is a second phase of my life, I call it. There’s nothing more I can learn here. I’ve taken it to the fullest, and now it’s time to move on to a whole new endeavor, and what that’s going to be, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m going somewhere where they’ll allow me to ply my trade. You see, I didn’t do this for money. If I did it for money I would’ve hung myself years ago. I do it for the joy …  it’s an expression of my innermost self.”

But don’t think he’s leaving his chicken behind. Mazzone said he’s packing a bag of his breading for the trip and getting a counter-top fryer, “because I’m not going to get this anywhere else.”

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  • Rpell1

    This fine business is a tremendous loss to the community.  In case no one has noticed, the DOH has been harassing most of the small businesses, (and private clubs), for some time now.   One of those clubs, has been a staple in Brooklyn since 1875 and has been inspected to near death over the past 2 years!!   When does it end?……when there are no more small businesses (and Clubs) left!!!   Then what?

    • LadyLucky17

      Remember what Bloomberg and his cronies have been trying to evolve this city into… an enclave for the rich and big business. They want spaces that housed Mom-and-Pops and the middle class for years to be turned into “luxury” condos and national chain establishments.

    • Anonymous

      “Inspected to near death”? Not inspected very closely, if places like this still got away with charging you money for goods that were past their marked expiration date ;)

  • Tinman

    We can’t have it both ways. If an eatery is found to have served tainted food or have unsanitary conditions and the city was neglectful on inspections, there’s usually an uproar that the city shirked its duty.
    On the other hand, small businesses often complain they are being regulated to death, but that comes with the territory. Sorry to see the Chicken Masters go, but if it couldn’t evolve and comply with stricter health rules, it has no business being in business.
    nonetheless, good luck to Vinnie!

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Small businesses here have been hit with excessive regulation, some of which are of dubious merit. I have no doubt that excessive zeal is sometimes exercised, indeed agencies are expected to bring in a fair amount of revenue through their enforcement practices.

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        Is that not another way of describing “extortion”?

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          This is how Bloomberg wants the revenue brought in.

    • Chknmstr264

       Tinman if an eatery has bad food handling procedures they deserve what they get !!!! You OBVIOUSLY are an UNINFORMED commentater!!!!First of all Check my inspection scores @nyc.gov/restaurant inspections and you will readily see that This is ”NOT” sour grapes what you said makes sense, I have NEVER failed an inspection,,,,my last one resulted in 4 points!!! The process requires a 13 or less point grade out of a possible 1330 potential points. Do the math!!That comes with the territory statement also tells me just how clueless you are.No Disrespect intended….Vinnie

      • Cindy

         Vinny – your food was the best part of birthday celebrations and holidays at our house or my Mom’s – We will miss your Chicken and my kids will definitely miss the french fries – Cohen Family from Trump Village

      • tim goog

        Hey Vinnie, looks like you’re an illiterate prick. No disrespect intended.

    • Peppertree5706

      He is fed up with sales tax audits. It has nothing to do with food.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      “Regulating comes with the territory”. Well, then you’re happy with all the empty storefronts in the Bay (and undoubtedly other neighborhoods), definitely caused by over-taxation and over-regulation.  There’s a reason there used to be almost 100% occupancy, now there’s “for rent” signs everywhere. If it were easier to have a business, there’d be more businesses, duh.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

         If the rents were cheaper there would be more small businesses.

        • Whwsailboat

          Cheaper rents take money out of landlords pockets.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Years ago many businesses chose not to own their buildings when they were in a position to do so. In those days rents were much more reasonable, and both landlord and tenant were happy with the arrangement.  At some point in time (I believe during the 80s) things changed. A new generation of property owners saw ownership as merely a tool for personal enhancement. Rents went up and responsibility for properly maintaining the building fell more into the hands of the tenants.

          • Engteacher

             But then you have some landlords– like the sisters who own most of the empty storefronts along Sheepshead Bay Road– who want SO much for rent, can NOT get the exorbitant amount they want, and would rather keep the spaces VACANT for YEARS… losing any chance of $$$`for themselves and making the neighborhood look like crap.  Somewhere there is a middle ground between renting your property too cheaply, and not making any money at all for years at a time while undermining a commercial corridor and community.

          • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

            Chances are, it’s more about devaluing the properties, so they can swoop in and buy them cheaply, and then later revitalize the properties. Just look at the shopping center plans that keep popping back up every few years. They’re probably willing to take the immediate financial hits if there’s a bigger gain later on.

          • Engteacher

             Sometimes the simple answer is right.
            In the case of these landlord sisters it is: Incompetence + Short-Sightedness + Greed = Long Term Empty Storefronts.
            Their offices are around the corner from the Dunkin Donuts, and when their father ran the business he understood that SOME money was better than NO money.
            A shame for their wallets, and for the neighborhood that looks more and more derelict because of the vacant stores.

          • Rpell1

            No, not necessarily.   It may only amount to less PROFITS!!!!!!!

        • telemann

           Yeah, New Clements Diner closed because the building owner upped the rent to some insane amount they just couldn’t afford. What’s there now? A sports shoe store.

    • Rpell1

      Agreed.  However, we are not talking about those establishments that do not comply.       MANY inspections have nothing to do with health issues.   They are mearly “what can I find that I can write up”?   (e.g.) Spilled water rates the same penalty as vermin on premises.   Floor behind the bar “appears” to be dirty because of the texture of the flooring material.  So, it’s written up as unclean.   It’s the nonsensical violations that are killing the honest (and perfectly clean) establishments, especially when fighting a bad inspection leads only to a reduced fine.   The fines are NEVER eliminated….even when they are bogus.  

  • Anonymous
  • BrooklynBus

    He would be smart if he takes careful notes on his travels around the country and then writes a book comparing being a small business owner in NYC to owning a small business in other cites across the USA. It would be an interesting read.

    • Steve W.

      And a documentary! This is so sad…

  • Bugg

    That’s a shame. Mr. Mazzone had a better product than any other fried chicken joint in the area,  the price was reasonable and the establishment clean and well-kempt . He will be missed.

    Let me guess-Starbucks or a bank takes the store.

  • Sadeyes

    At least he’s not blaming Obama.

    • Chknmstr264

       we deleted that part,,, The shirt I wore says” Yes I did Build my business””  hahaha!!! the entire system in bad shape !!!

      • http://twitter.com/nicktherat Nick the Rat

        If i knew you were as enlightened as this, I would have eaten there more! Thanks for the chicken, it will be missed.

      • Karen

        I will miss you and you delicious food!!!!

  • Bayshock

    I feel for Vinnie and will miss him and his shop.
    But I can’t help but think that the Anteka coming into the space made him a killer offer that he just could not let pass.
    So that payout, plus the government bullying, is probably the more complete answer for why he closed up shop.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      Since he owned the building, I think it’s reasonable to assume he made his decision before putting the building on the market, and so it had nothing to do with the pharmacy’s offer in particular.

  • Sadeyes

    PS–question–
    I thought Vinny sold the building.  A sign, now removed, said ‘Sold’ & it was talked about here that it would become a pharmacy.  What happened with the sale? 

    I also think Vinny closing is a loss to the neighborhood.  I will miss him.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke
      • BeefMaster

        that for-sale sign has been there for a long time. He was planning to retire. Vin just couldnt get the asking price he was looking for right away until a pharmacy came along. Now they can scheme medicare and medicaid.    

      • LadyLucky17

        Exactly what Sheepshead Bay needs…. ANOTHER PHARMACY

        Ughh

  • Alert observer

    It ends when all democrats are voted out of office.

    All of the worst states to do business in are run by leftists.

    Wake up people.

    • Anonymous

       lol wut?

    • BrightonResident

      What drugs are you on. Alert Observer???

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Bloomberg is a Republican. He is unwilling to tax the members of his own class. The various agencies are mandated by him to enforce laws strictly, and often erroneously. Large businesses are generally left alone.

    • Kool4Coney

      bloomberg is a republican, before him we had guiliani, A REPUBLICAN.  sheeeesh

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        And before him, we had the great Dinkins!

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          Dinkins didn’t seek to harm small businesses.

          • Guest

            He certainly didn’t limit his damage to small business!

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

             There was no damage to small business caused by governmental activity.

    • BloomburgSucks

       An ignorant idiotic comment. You think Bloomberg is a democrat? The 4th richest person? Turn off Fox News, step outside and open your eyes.

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        If one more freakin person refers to Foxnews as the only biased news outlet, watched by only idiots,  i’m going to start throwing punches. Moron, it is not the case that you are smart because you think MSNBC, CNN, NY TIMES is the unbiased truth, and Foxnews is all for idiots. All your attitude proves is that you’re opinionated and close-minded, not intellectual. That goes for the  rest of you close-minded jerks who refuse  to watch anything that might upset your confirmation-biased, close-minded feeble minds.

        • theguywhocare

          Liberal Idiot

          • Tinman

            Conservation Kook!

        • BloombergSucks

          Bruce, my comment was geared toward and based upon the comment of Alert Observer. Whatever you believe, you can’t deny that is something you would hear on Fox News Channel. I made the comment because to me it sounded like the poster believes Bloomberg to be a democrat. Bloomberg is not a democrat and is not for the small businessman. He is also not for the middle class or poor. Honestly, I highly doubt Bloomberg gives two sh!ts about this city. To me, I personally hate watching him destroy peoples dreams and great long standing establishments. Places that the common person enjoys. I enjoyed Chicken Masters. It had great food and was long established in the neighborhood.  It makes you wonder what Bloomberg has been doing to Roll n’ Roaster and the like. This isn’t about being democrat or republican. It is about a small little man who is a control freak and time and time again shows that he cares nothing about the constituents he serves.

          • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

            Sorry if I misinterpreted your intent. No problem. I just get pissed when someone points to the opposing media as “biased”, and thinks “their side” is the unbiased truth. I freely admit that someone watching Foxnews is getting a very narrow view of reality.

          • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

            He just cares about leaving a legacy of some sort

          • LadyLucky17

             Yup… and what a bad legacy it will be.

        • Bruce B is mad

          Bruce, come down….eat some chicken

    • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

      Although the latest governor is Republican, Iowa is quite “blue” and possibly one of the best states to run a business.  And what party is Bloomberg?

  • BrightonResident

    Chicken Master’s / Eat my Chicken  will be missed!

    • Anonymous

       But their website won’t. That’s one of the ugliest designs I’ve ever laid eyes on.

  • barkingspider07

    Wow, I’m sad that Vinny has closed his business.  The food there was always good, the entire place was immaculate, he and his staff members were always pleasant.

    Good Luck to you, Vinny, you and your delicious fare will be missed.

  • Tinafg

    Vinnie!!!!!!!!!  No!!!!!!!!!!!  You told me, you promised me you were moving to McDonald Avenue!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Peppertree5706

    Hey, consider Austin, Texas. The state of Texas and Travis County respect businesses as the backbone of the economy. I have run a business in Austin since 1989 and I am left alone by the government.

    As a bonus, there is no city or state income tax in Texas. 

    • Chknmstr264

       Hey peppertree thanks for the heads up, that’s what I am looking for a Business Friendly environment where I can be my own boss and be an integral part of the community, I will be bouncing around the U.S. looking…  

  • BloombergSucks

    Vinnie’s chicken is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. You will truly be missed. Sadly, this is what Bloomberg wants. Another loss for the citizens of this city.

  • winson

    My family and I will miss this place dearly

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    Early in the summer, we grabbed an outdoor table at the new Cha-Cha’s bar/restaurant in Coney (across the street from Nathans on Surf).  The manager shooed us indoors and they started removing the outdoor tables. I said, what’s going on.  The manager apologized, said “paperwork, red tape”. Then as he walked away, he muttered under his breath, but loud enough for me to hear “geez, what it takes to run a f**ng business in this city”….

  • http://www.flickr.com/knightmare6 Knightmare6

    I feel like dressing up as Darth Vader right now, just so I could scream, “NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    Honestly, I didn’t like the place. But everyone else did, and that counts more than my solitary opinion, and even if I didn’t like it, it still upsets me that a business like this closes because of freakin big government and bureaucracy, and I have to hear comments like “comes with the territory”.

  • Old Sheepshead Hand

    Thanks for all the years of food service. My late mother loved your shop near the subway. And I’ll always salivate at the thought of the spicy fries. My dad was a big fan of your burger.

  • Alan Bellone

    Well
    Vinnie…I’ve eaten at your place a half dozen times and the service and food
    was always excellent. Unfortunately, you are correct. I am a small business
    owner and the city is making it very difficult for owners to exist. Everyone
    has a breaking point, and you have reached yours. I only wish you the best in
    your endeavors.

    On a
    different note, I am running for Congress, and although I won’t be in the
    decision process at the local level, I will be at a national level and can
    assure you and everyone else that I will do everything in my power to assist
    small business owners. They are the backbone of our country and have been
    bullied enough over the last few years.

    Good luck
    to you

    Alan
    Bellone

    8th
    district Congressional Candidate.

    • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

      yay!

  • Plumgoofy57

    Vinny, you will be sorely missed. Not simply because you had the best chicken, Buffalo wings, Phillies, bergers, (your spelling, right?), etc., but also because you weren’t afraid to speak your mind about things. We sometimes didn’t agree, sometimes did, but you weren’t shy about it. Still pissed you didn’t tell me about the party tho! Take care of yourselves, and good luck. Hi to K and J!

  • Karina

    this is very sAD. i love chicken masters, i will miss his “thank you  my girl” every couple of days when i ordered my lunch, no one makes better friend zuccini sticks = (

  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    Come to Dubuque, IA.  Businesses are more important than people here, and we REALLY need good chicken.

  • Ymakhnin

    A very sad news. It is bad for Sheepshead Bay, bad for community, bad for all business owners. City should be for compliance, no questions, but every day brings a new one, not a good one, not a smart one.Enough! Business owners spend hours in court, thousands on attorneys and it is getting worse and worse. Something should be done. Businesses should do something about it together. It should be some kind of movement. All politicians say they are for businesses but reality proves the oposite. I know Vinny for years and he will be missed. Vinny, good luck to you and G-d bless you for serving community for many years

  • wingzing

    ill miss the hot wing zings
     

  • guest

     I am confused thought he was closing because a bank was taking over the building. He will be missed best mac and cheese around . It  is really a lose

  • http://twitter.com/nicktherat Nick the Rat

    F*** politicians! 

  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    Oh, looking at stories, it seems that it would cost 13k a year to give his employees sick days (like a decent human being), and that was a problem.  Horrible regulation, but worse when people have to be regulated into being good people.

    • FreedomForever

      Regulating people into being “good people” is fascism under the pretense of morals

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

        Without a lot of regulations of this kind we would be back in the 19th century when there were essentially two classes and much less actual capital for investment in real terms. Business never fully grasped that sharing the wealth increases the wealth of everyone.

        • Chknmstr264

          Dear Lisanne So SORRY to see that you drank the Koolaide,,,someone should have warned you first !!!!That SOCIALIST statement about saring the wealth has NEVER WORKED!!! When you take from those that earn and give to those that don’t what incentive does one have to strive to be sucessful???? AS is par for the course in MY WORLD I work 8 days a week 14-16 hours a , when I go shopping I see countless apparently HEALTHY individuals dressed to the NINES with much newer AND NICER cars than mine, shopping carts full to the top as i watch what I buy ”BECAUSE MY FUNDS are LIMITED!!!!! What happens is my MORALE DIMINISHES and as is happening it DOES NOT PAY for me to GIVE up my LIFE ONLY to have it taken away one piece at a time with TAXES both direct AND INDIRECT !!!!When the EARNERS STOP earning where does the money come from to REDISTRIBUTE !!!!! ALL it takes is a LITTLE thought ,,,,NOT ROCKET SCIENCE  Have a GREAT LIFE

          • Anonymous

             But she’s right about the 19th century thing. Without regulations, employers abused the hell out of workers. Low pay, dangerous environment, kids forced to work to support family…

          • ES

            There is a middle ground to all this. I highly doubt that Vinnie would have let his workers languish in dangerous conditions while earning below a pauper’s salary. I’m not a math person (or a rocket scientist for that matter), but the way I figure things, by the government over-taxing and over-regulating the business owner — the guy who pays the salaries of all the members of his staff, the guy who buys all the supplies, and pays for everything related to the business (probably a lot of goddamned money) — it simply creates a negative, if not altogether oppressive, climate in which to operate one’s business. So, to disproportionately tax a business owner who is in a higher tax bracket is just unfair, and not well thought out. In my opinion. Vinnie “spread the wealth,” so to speak, by paying his workers wages of his own determining, but when the business owner is taxed to death… how in hell will he be able to pay his employees or run his business properly? Sure there should be high standards of cleanliness (I’ve never known Chicken Masters to be anything less than impeccably spotless), but when such measures are draconian, and inspectors start hassling you about stuff like uneven tiles in the bathroom, or a dim light bulb, then it’s really time to throw in the towel. Sadly. They were the best wings I ever had. All the food there was primo — top shelf — and what else can I say? I’m really bummed that I’ll never again hear: “Thank you for calling Chicken Masters, this is Vinnie speaking.” It just plain sucks.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            One’s own determining? We tried that. Workers were underpaid while employers lived like lords of the manor. What we call a minimum wage in this country is not a livable wage but employers will pay even less than that if such a law was not in place. Paternalism is not altruism. The employer believes that he has provided a job. It does not matter whether the job pays sufficiently. That is not necessarily the employer’s concern.

          • ES

            @Lisanne, a person has the option to look for another job then, if they don’t feel they could live on the wage they are already earning.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            They tried to bring back child labor in Maine last year. The wheels of progress are moving backwards.

          • Subway Stinker

            seems like we go from one extreme to the other, and hit the correct middle course once in a while. Do we really want a return to the early 20th century when children went to work and the slaughterhouses sold tainted meat before the Pure Food Act?  Nor do I like the current status quo when social programs are corrupted, our legislaturor keep getting sent off to Jail and poltical corruption seems to be rampant. The best disinfectant is journals like this Bite blog and the people who contribute. Keep it coming.

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

            Sharing the wealth is not a socialist statement, unless you consider unionism to be a form of socialism. Without workers there are no profits.

    • telemann

       Yeah, I saw that New York Post article too. Assuming an employee gets 7.25 per hour, and they work 40 hours to get this benefit (I’m not sure if this regulation covers part time employees, or how long the employee will have to be at a business to qualify for the benefit), their gross pay is 290.00 a week. The NYC law only requires 5 days. And I’m sure the turn over for employees in restaurant businesses is pretty high in NYC. But using the 13,000 figure in the article, and dividing that by 290.00 gives you 44 employees. I’ve never ever seen more than six people behind the counter. So unless there are other things being calculated into that figure ( maybe social security, unemployment insurance, etc) I  don’t understand that 13,000. If is accurate,  that’s a lot of money for a small business.

  • Hoo Brian

    It’s impossible to run an honest food business.  Even as far back as 20 years, when I was waitering through college, all the restaurants I worked in kept 2 set of books.

  • Lisa Weiner

    I thought chicken masters was a great place for chicken , master treats, etc. I will miss ordering my dinner from them and I’m sad to see Vinne’s Eat my chicken go out of business. Lisa Weiner

  • Candice

    Vinnie –
    30+ years old, 30 years of eating your food… from the Bay to across the street to the other place across the street.  THANK YOU!
    You, your food, and the feeling of a well-run local establishment will be sorely missed.  (In fact, really wish we could’ve had some wing zings for lunch today.) Wishing you, your family and your staff much success with any and all future endeavors.  “I never had it so good and the best is yet to come!”
    Best regards, Candice

  • Igor

    vinnie is right, nyc & federal goverment have their hand in everything..fdny permits, food processing liscense, usda inspections (there are many divisions, you can get several), health dept. inspections, consumer affairs..they have all these ridiculous fees, not to mention if they slap you with a voilation..lets not even get into the taxes..all of this is yet to mention the costs of running the business itself (maintance, salaries, insurances, cost of goods)..at the end of the day its like living pay check to pay check..back in the day there were less regulations & small business were thriving, now all they do is struggle to stay afloat..if i had money or something else to rely on i would shuts the gates for good..

  • Subway Stinker

    does anyone reading this Chicken story remember the business on Hamilton Avenue in Red Hook that left NYC for many of the same reasons?  Except this happened during the Giuliani administration. The owner put up a big sign visible from the Gowanus X-way and Hamilton avnue until he left, claiming he too was driven out by excessive regulations. Looks like nothing has changed since “America’s Mayor” ran NYC. B/T/W, not that it matters but Mayor Mike is no longer a Repbulican, he switched to Indep a few years ago.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

       He switched back again. Perhaps he unaffiliated once again and I missed that.

      • Subway Stinker

        Lisa-Anne, please check Wikipedia to aid our fawlty memory. Here is the politcal life of Mayor Mike….
        before public office, Mike was a registred Democrat.
        in 2001 he enrlled in the Rep Party and was elected Mayor.
        in 2007 he switched to independent, ;
        In 2009 he ran for Mayor 3rd term on both the Rep line and the Indedence Party lines without being a registered Repbulican because of a provision of the  NYS election law. He remains a registered voter without Party affllation, which is commonly called ‘indepndent’ which is really a status not a Party.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

           I remembered that he had ran on the Republican line after unjoining that party. But that he could run on the line without party membership does make sense, it was to the advantage of both Bloomberg and the Republicans that he would do so. There have been candidates who ran on both the Democratic AND Republican lines. This has been in the past somewhat common with judgeships.

  • Gru

     I agree. City of New York is squeezing every nickel from small business owners lately.  Same with our business.  This permit, that permit, this sign, that sign.  Something new every year where you have to constantly pay money for nothing.

  • Mqc1000

    The politicians have taken over and have no more regard for the communities. NYC has become the authoritarian government and does not care about its workers, small business owners nor its people. You can survive if you are in the Bloomberg class or the wlfare class. There is no longer the middle class due to huge taxes, prices, and nonsense. Too bad. We could have enjoyed it better. Hello Florida?

  • telemann

    I’m so sad to see Chicken Masters close. When they moved into the new building, I loved the folk art decorations (chicken themed as expected). I’m from Virginia and I am a fried chicken expert (*wink*) and Chicken Masters was always consistently good. A lot of the chain chicken is so dry, and just entirely too salty. I get the impression there were several reasons for his decision and that’s his choice, but it’s leaves a big hole in this part of Brooklyn. There are such limited options now for food, much less really “going out for a bite,” never mind a clean seat when you sit down. It’s actually depressing when you consider how many people must live in this area and there isn’t a decent restaurant. 

    I suggested Vinnie try Raleigh North Carolina. Hillsborough Street by the North Carolina State University Campus is a great spot, and there are a lot of government contractors and businesses near there. Homes are so inexpensive there too. Where my brother lives, it’s like a miniature New York/ New Jersey in his neighborhood with all the accents. Texas and Florida are just too frigging hot in the Summer. ;)

    Good luck!

  • Harold Olsen

          I must say I am really sad to see this place go.  I live in Belle Harbor Queens and would still always make a weekly trip to Chicken Master’s to eat and also take out about $30 worth of food.  The burgers were great as well as all of the chicken.  I also loved the chocolate pudding too.  It’s really a shame to watch this once beautiful city of ours turn to crap.  Vinnie and I agree that the muni meters are horrible.  What was wrong with the regular meters?  Now when people are eating at his restaurant and realize they need a little more time,  they can’t add time until all the previous time has expired.  Pure retarted.   And not to mention that Ave Z in front of his place is always littered with the paper parking receipts every morning when he opens.  Vinnie,  consider reopening here in Rockaway like you pondered about 10 years ago.  Your business would be booming out here,  especially during the summer!  And Bloonberg can shove his muni meters up his ass!  Chicken masters……you will be missed!

  • BrooklynPride

    I loved this place. My family and friends loved this place. My kid grew up eating his food since she was 4 years old and is now 15. Its a sad day in Brooklyn. A sad day for the community of Sheepshead Bay. Vinnie was always there greeting all his customers. I don’t know a time I didn’t see him behind the counter or a time when he didn’t pick up the phone to take your order even if it was just pass closing. Forever missed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000654878770 Kseniya Us

    Just walked by today and saw the place closed. My whole family is upset. It’s a shame to see this place go. The chicken was great.

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  • FmrSmallBusinessOwner

    I recently closed my business too and one of the reasons were fines for random BS. I saved up some money years ago and finally opened up my own retail store. As much as i tried to follow regulations, every year something new came up and I as fined for it. I believe that the Dept of Consumer Affairs is run by a bunch of thugs. They dig up old and random rules they want you to abide and make frequent surprise visits to hand out tickets. Also, whenever I visit my accountant, he informs me of new random fees my business needs to pay.

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