Saturday, March 17, 2012

Save Kate's Joint on Avenue B


A campaign is underway to help save Kate's Joint, the vegetarian restaurant on Avenue B and East Fourth Street. Here's the background on indiegogo:

Kate’s Joint, vegetarian restaurant and bar, has been a staple in New York City’s East Village since 1996. Solely owned and operated by neighborhood native Kate Halpern, who dreamt to create an affordable restaurant to serve the community she grew up in. Kate’s Joint has grown to become much more than just a business, it is a home for locals and travelers a like, a place to bring family and friends, and to meet new ones.

Unfortunately, with the changing neighborhood and economic recession Kate’s Joint has seen a fall in business and rise in costs. Kate is currently in arrears with the landlord. Eviction notices have been sent, court appearances have been made, and if a substantial amount of money is not raised by April 11th, the next court date, the doors will shut permanently at Kate’s Joint. The East Village will lose another neighborhood landmark.

Anyone who has ever met Kate knows how hard she has worked over the past 15 years, and how dedicated she is to this business. She has many plans to increase business, including transforming a section of the restaurant in to a bakery featuring vegan and gluten free baked goods, reaching a new market of morning commuters who would be able to grab a cup of coffee and a vegan muffin on their way to work. That being said, first thing is first, fighting off this eviction!

The Impact

This is not just about saving Kate’s Joint; it is about preserving the East Village. It is about preserving small, female owned businesses. Don’t let Avenue B turn in to a row of Starbucks and banks; help keep small businesses alive!


What We Need & What You Get

We need at least $30,000 to go to back rent. While we are hopping to raise the majority of this through donations and fundraisers, we realize that may not be possible. We are also in talks with other funding sources, including loans and investors.

Read the rest of the post here. Owner Kate Halpern explains the perks of a contribution there too...

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't say I'm overly sympathetic to keeping it open since her business saw fit to add an additional charge to my credit card bill for what she/they apparently thought was some "oversight" in providing a tip...a tip that I paid personally to the server, in cash. Perhaps not ironically, when I saw the extra charge on my bill and proceeded to do some research, I found that based on comments on various restaurant review sites, this was not an unusual practice and had happened to quite a number of others. To their credit, it was removed before I could say something, but that was also 3 weeks after the charge. I made it a point to not eat there again.

Anonymous said...

1996 is not so very long ago. Kate's is a nice place and I'll make a point of supporting it, but when exactly do businesses go from "potentially threatening upstart" to "neighborhood institution?" Is it that you personally feel it belongs, or is there a better rubric we can apply?

Anonymous said...

$30,000 in back rent ??? I'd suggest charging $100 for a cup of coffee, or just pack up and go home. You've got no right to demand the public cover your shortfall and cloak it in the guise of "keep the neighborhood real" It's called BUSINESS, and if you can't compete, then you've failed, plain and simple.

I do feel sorry for those involved, but I don't think it's really my problem to bail them out. It's no surprise to me that greedy-ass SOB landlords are making it impossible for the small business to survive, but paying off their rent bill won't change a thing, except to make some landlord that much richer.

Anonymous said...

The need a serious revamp of their menu. Perhaps they should serve HEALTHY vegetarian food. Maybe the restaurant impossible guy can some in and scale it down to 10 entrees and 3 amazing appetizers.

I like to drink in their bar. BUT they never have any of the standard ingredients to make what I want.

~evilsugar25 said...

I agree with the above. the "dorito vegetarians" (as i call those folks who are veg, but eat only junk food that's not meat: fries, fried things, fried tofu, did i mention cheese fries?) don't eat here anymore. healthy places, like Organic Grill, Caravan and a few of the new raw places are doing well; this menu needs a revamp from the 90s into the new millenium.

also, as much as i hate to see the old places leave, asking for donations to pay your business's 30K in back rent is a little outrageous. is Kate's too old to fail?

Lauren J said...

The 3/17 4:15 comment put it perfectly and I also agree that I have little sympathy with a business with such terrible customer service I've seen on one visit after another. If Kate Halpern is so dedicated to this restaurant, then her talent for staffing, in a situation where hundreds of people would kill for that job, is sorely lacking.

Anonymous said...

Their food is not helathy and the attitudes of their staff members SUck. Why not enable Kate Halpern and give her the 30k. The place still won't thrive.

laurie m. said...

i don't think i would have stayed vegan for so many years if it weren't for kate's joint, which was my first exposure to tofu scramble. i would be very sad to see this place go.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, okay, yes, I'll try to eat at Kate's sometime this week. I'm not crazy about Kate's and I completely quit going there--I was a steady breakfast customer back then they served hot breakfast--after two unpleasant run-ins with, um, Kate.

I do think that locally owned places are worth supporting, even if they aren't particularly likeable. And, yeah, Kate's is admirably quirky and, doh, local.

Anonymous said...

isn't it overrun with douchebags after 7pm now anyway? was the last few times i was there which is why i stopped going.

Anonymous said...

I semi-regularly go there for brunch--that's all that's really good there in my opinion. And the restaurant part has crossed over from "charmingly post-hippie" to, well, kinda seedy. It used to do a bustling breakfast biz but lately its been much quieter. If nothing else, they shoulda given the place a spruce-up, at least a coat of fresh paint and replace the broken chairs.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but I went there excited to try some vegan items off their extensive menu. They were out of bloody mary mix - um I'm sorry, run to a bodega or any local grocery store and solve the problem?? I'd understand being out of some obscure ingredient for one of the more unique vegan dishes on the menu, but bloody mary mix? Does it have to be a mix? There's about 3-4 ingredients most kitchens would have in stock anyway - just didn't make sense. Combined with the blaring music and inattentive servers, I'm not even sure they noticed that we walked out without ordering.

sara said...

I am a veggie and used to love kates. Its too bad but they let the place go with bad service, bad atitude and weird schedule. There was always something missing, something wrong with the check, the service sucked and the general feeling was they didnt want the customer there. Not surprised they owe back rent with that attitude.

Anonymous said...

Hate to see any restaurant go under, but the folks commenting here are right. Paying back rent doesn't fix the problem - lo sales hi costs. Adding other businesses won't help unless the main business is cured. Kate needs to take a cold hard look at her business and look for areas to improve. Sounds like the quotes above are telling her that she has lost her vision. It's easy to blame the evil empire of landlords, community advocates and developers. Harder to blame yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mark my words - Kate's ain't goin nowhere.

franklanguage said...

I'm a neighbor and vegan and I've been going there more in the past two weeks than I had in the past two years. Kate's has changed—for the better—and if Foodswings can make it, so can she.