Upper East Side luxury condo residents sue downstairs restaurant for unbearable smell

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A.J. Ross reports from the Upper East Side. (WABC)

Residents of The Isis, a luxury condominium building in the Upper East Side, say they've had enough of unbearable odors coming from a wine bar now serving food downstairs. They are now even venting to a judge.

Meanwhile, the owners of the restaurant claim they're well within their rights, so this food fight is far from over.

"It smells like something is rotten," Isis resident Karen Bignardi said.

"(There's a) really strong smell of garlic, and it's particularly bad in my son's bedroom," said resident Anne Hrychuk, who has complained more than 20 times.

Paying millions for a prime location luxury condo usually doesn't come with a side of stench. But that's exactly what residents inside The Isis building on East 77th Street say they've been served for more than a year courtesy of their downstairs neighbor, Vella Wine Bistro.

"The first floor, when you come in, the smell hits you as soon as you hit the door, when you're coming out of the elevator," Bignardi said. "And it's foul."

Bignardi and others have complained dozens of times about the the restaurants smell and noise, prompting a court battle.

Inside legal documents, an ISIS property manager claims Vella has been cooking smelly foods in violation of their lease and fire safety regulations.

However, the owners of the restaurant say they've followed all the rules and, in fact, only use two small electric ovens to heat their food.

"We have a lot of small plates that don't even require cooking," Vella general manager Evgemia Huldisch said. "We want to make peace. We want people from the building to come to our restaurant."

On Monday, a judge denied the building's request to immediately shut down Vella, but the battle is far from over, with another court date scheduled for next month.

"Maybe this is not the best use of space in the bottom story of a residential building," Hrychuk said.

The owners of the wine bar say they're willing to offer discounts or do whatever they can to find some sort of peace on the Upper East Side.
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foodfoodupper east siderestaurantUpper East SideNew York City
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