Ruschmeyer’s Next Target in Crackdown

Restaurant-turned-nightclub? Town officials are seeking an injunction against Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk for allegedly violating the law by turning the place from a restaurant into a club and packing in the crowds. Jane Bimson

Two Montauk restaurants that are allegedly transformed into nightclubs after dinner hours are feeling the heat this week, with East Hampton Town officials going to the State Supreme Court for injunctions to force them to operate according to the zoning code, which allows them to be restaurants only, and to limit the size of their crowds.

Both Ruschmeyer’s and Grey Lady have allegedly been removing dining tables and chairs to morph into nightclubs.

The town board on Tuesday authorized Michael Sendlenski, the town attorney, to seek a restraining order against Ruschmeyer’s. Over the weekend, close to 200 people were found partying in a cleared-out dining room with a legal occupancy limit of 48, Mr. Sendlenski said Tuesday.

The restaurant’s application for an outdoor gathering permit over the weekend had been denied, but it held the event anyway, Mr. Sendlenski said, setting up a bar for patrons outside.

Last week, State Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Emerson issued a temporary restraining order against Grey Lady, on the harbor at West Lake Drive, which has been cited several times this summer for overcrowding. The town is now seeking a permanent injunction “to enforce a use pursuant to the zoning code,” Mr. Sendlenski said Monday, and was seeking a contempt charge against the landlords. A return to court is scheduled for Aug. 24.

The court order issued last week precludes the business and property owners from operating a nightclub and specifies that it may only be used as a restaurant; indoor occupancy is capped at 68.

The terms mirror those imposed by a judge two years ago when a different restaurant, known as the Harbor Raw Bar and Lounge, or the Harbor, was doing business there. Ordinance enforcement officers and fire marshals that summer shut down the place on busy nights, when as many as 300 patrons had been admitted. A temporary restraining order was issued.

The owner of the property, at 440 West Lake Drive, remains the same — a limited liability corporation called Spiritoso.

The town’s requests for court orders to force the restaurants to operate as permitted follow another appearance in Supreme Court by East Hampton attorneys cracking down on violations of the town code.

 On July 26, East Hampton officials moved against Tinder Select, an exclusive, members-only branch of the app-based dating site, which was using a private oceanfront residence in Montauk for its soirées. Commercial uses of private residences are prohibited.

The request prompted lawyers for Tinder Select to negotiate an agreement with the town through which illegal use of the property would cease. Tinder had reportedly rented the house for the month of July.