EV Grieve favorite Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery on Avenue A between 13th Street and 14th Street is on this month's CB3/SLA docket for a beer license... Here, EV Grieve reader Charles Hutchinson makes his case for Zaragoza...
One of the few truly unspoiled eateries on my stretch of Avenue A, Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery, has been hurting since they lost their beer license in September.
Zaragoza is a 10 year-old family-run business (husband, wife and grown son — Pompeyo, Maria and Ruben Martinez, respectively, all of whom live in the neighborhood). Zaragoza makes authentic, good, affordable fare — tortas, tamales, burritos — with fresh ingredients every day. For years it has been a convivial and crowded take-out with a few tables that were always filled.
Unfortunately, much of that has changed since the Fall when Ruben filed papers to change the establishment from a limited partnership into a corporation. What he didn't know, and now regrets, is that the change in legal status would complicate and possibly jeopardize his liquor license.
Since then, Zaragoza hasn't been permitted to sell a single can of Tecate or any other of the Mexican Beers that it used to stock. And that has put a serious crimp in their business.
So how dead is it now? When I went over there [last Friday night], weaving past the throng of revelers in front of one or more neighboring bars, the place was empty save for an occasional take-out like myself. Ironically, part of what is complicating the license renewal is the proliferation of bars that for most part didn't exist when Zaragosa started selling beer there many years ago.
Zaragoza is now seeking neighborhood support as it gathers signatures prior to pleading its case before the Community Board. Can you alert your readers of the need to sign the petition and help revive this venerable establishment?
Yes. There aren't many places like this left. [Added] They are collecting signatures of support for the CB3/SLA meeting at Zaragoza. You can stop by and sign. Ask Ruben or anyone behind the counter.
You can read a recent review of Zaragoza here at Serious Eats.