East Hampton Town officials are seeking legal action against two Montauk restaurants they say illegally operated at times as overcrowded nightclubs.
Grey Lady Montauk and Ruschmeyer’s both were cited recently by code enforcement officers for exceeding occupancy and acting as nightclubs on at least two occasions this summer, Town Attorney Michael Sendlenski said Tuesday.
Grey Lady already has been ordered to limit occupants from the 99 that had been approved by fire marshals to 68, according to a temporary restraining order granted in Riverhead on Friday by State Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Hazlitt Emerson.
“They had removed all dining tables and bar tables and turned the entire place into a nightclub,” Sendlenski said of Grey Lady.
Town officials told the court that fire marshals spotted between 105 and 220 people in the upscale restaurant along Lake Montauk over four instances from July 1 to July 30.
Carl Irace, an attorney representing Grey Lady East LLC, denied the allegations and said he plans to fight code violation charges that also have been filed in East Hampton Justice Court.
“The town makes it seem like if you move tables around, you’re a nightclub,” Irace said. “Come on, what restaurant doesn’t move tables around?”
Grey Lady is owned by Ryan Chadwick and Callum McLaughlin, who also have three other locations of the restaurant, including on the Lower East Side.
Spiritoso LLC, the restaurant’s landlord, also is a party to the litigation — just as it was two years ago when previous tenant Harbor Raw Bar and Lounge was cited for similar violations.
“The property was rented to the tenant . . . with the specific provision they had to comply with all the rules and regulations of the Town of East Hampton and state laws,” said Harvey Arnoff, an attorney representing Spiritoso.
Sendlenski said he plans this week to seek injunctive relief against Ruschmeyer’s, which was cited both last weekend and in June, including for having nearly 200 people in a room where only 50 are permitted.
“There’s dangerous overcrowding there, and they’re not using the property in conformance with the allowable use of the property,” Sendlenski said.
Representatives of Ruschmeyer’s, which reopened this summer under new management, did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.