A long-standing and popular restaurant building that shut in the pandemic could remain empty until Christmas 2023.

The Harry Morgan New York deli at 29-31 High Street, St John's Wood, shut in April 2021, citing a dispute over rent and the drop off in revenue since Covid lockdowns began.

Signs on panels in the windows of the building, one of several vacant units in High Street, state: “New restaurant opening soon.”

However planning documents reveal that it may not be occupied again until Christmas next year – two and a half years after it closed.

The freehold on the site, along with most of High Street, is managed by Trophaeum Asset Management on behalf of unnamed owners.

Advertising consent for the the temporary panels was granted in May. The application was made by Daniel Rinsela & Co, representing Stradawood Ltd. That company is owned by Matthew Farrell, managing director of Trophaeum, which manages 34 properties in High Street.

The application’s cover letter stated: “This application for advert consent seeks to regularise the temporary use of the vinyls on the application site’s shopfront, which is proposed to remain in place until December 31, 2023. This reflecting the owners’ assessment of the time it will take before a refurbishment scheme and internal fit out of the unit is complete.”

Trophaeum has not responded to requests for comment.

Restaurant and New York City-style deli Harry Morgan closed its doors last April after 73 years in business.

Since the start of the pandemic, manager Antonio Franco said at the time that the restaurant and deli had been closed or trading at just 40% of potential revenue.

“We didn’t decide to close [permanently], it’s a question of a negotiation over rent not going right with the landlord, since last year,” he said.

The restaurant and deli, famed for its salt beef sandwiches, chicken soup and cheesecake, had been serving traditional Jewish food since 1948.

Celebrity priest and former pop star Reverend Richard Coles tweeted last year: “This is very bad news indeed.”

Journalist and restaurant critic Marina O'Loughlin tweeted: “Vv sad news about Harry Morgan's."