Friday, May 4, 2012

Making the case for Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery to serve beer

[Photo via Serious Eats]

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.


Big Gay Ice Cream Man said...

That spot is a treasure. Tell us how to help.

EV Grieve said...

I believe they are collecting signatures for the CB3/SLA meeting at the shop. You can stop by and sign.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Charles. However, I fear this will be the one time when the community board members flex their flabby liquor license muscles and give Zaragoza a hard time. They will stomp on a 5-table, family-owned business that wants to serve cans of beer while at the same time hand out 75 liquor licenses to bi-level shitshows like Billy Hurricane's.

Hey community board, do something right for your COMMUNITY for once.

glamma said...

Will definitely stop by to sign. CB3, please do the right thing for the good people at Zaragoza!!!

Anonymous said...

love this place. they're super friendly in there.

Marty Wombacher said...

I'll make a point of stopping by to have dinner and sign the petition.

esquared said...

They're doing it wrong -- straight and honest.

What they need to do is tell CB3 that:

- they need the wine and beer license so that they can pair them with the tortas, tamales, and burritos

- in addition, the deli will operate as a bakery and pastry shop, serving food during all hours of operation

-it will play ambient background music only, consisting of recorded music

Also, they need to have sweet buns (literally and figuratively) when requesting for the liquor license.

And once approved for the license, they need to open up a secret speakeasy bar in the back, called Proletarius -- accessible via giving a wink and a nod to the register, and just glide on through one of the cooler doors -- where they will serve a tiny enclave of hard-to-find Mexican brews.

Shawn Chittle said...

Signing petitions is worthless.

Come and speak on their behalf. We all love Ruben and want to see justice served here. We harp on places getting licenses FOR THIS VERY REASON: because now a legit local business wants one and they are too scarce.

Love ya Ruben and see ya at CB3. Be respectful and patient with the SLA board and you will prevail!