Wednesday, January 8, 2014

[Updated] Reader report: 7A will close at the end of the month



Back in November, we started hearing rumors that Avenue A mainstay 7A would close in the coming months… sold to a group who planned to open a southern-themed restaurant. (Mama Lulu's or something similar, said a tipster at the time.)

Fast-forward to yesterday when, according to a tipster, management informed staff that the 24-hour restaurant will close at the end of January.

We didn't hear any official reason for the closure. However, it is not because of a rent hike, we're told. 7A owner Moshe Hatsav also owns part of the building at 130 E. Seventh St., which was recently renovated ... where the penthouse is fetching $16,995 a month. (Also, 7A had been closed for renovations last January … as well as in January 2011.)

In any event, there have been rumblings that the restaurant that has anchored the southwest corner of Avenue A and East Seventh Street since the mid-1980s had been going downhill of late, that staff moral was waning.

Per our tipster: "The saddest part, other than the loss of an institution in the community, is that many of the employees have worked there for a decade at least."

No official word just yet on what will take 7A's place.

Updated 1 p.m.

7A confirmed the closure on the restaurant's Facebook page, noting simply: "7A will be closing for good by the end of the month."

Updated 2:22 p.m.
Are Serge Becker and Josh Pickard taking over 7A?

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh no. It is sad to think so many long-timers will be losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Great - a little more than a week into the new year and we've already lost 2 dependable sushi places, an alterna-pizza joint, and now this. Can we have 2013 back please?!?

Anonymous said...

This is sad news. Many fond memories over the years. This is where I taught my toddler daughter how to behave in a restaurant 20 years ago where we'd go regularly for the breakfast special. I'll miss it.

Anonymous said...

Damn. Such a great vibe in that place, any time of day. That's the kind of magic you can't get back.

Anonymous said...

Another of my go-to restaurants closes to be replaced by some "themed" shit.

2014 is the year I start looking at real estate in other areas, I guess. Since I'm not an NYU student or a trainee on wall st, apparently I don't belong in this neighborhood any more.

Too bad, but there are some great areas in BK and some nice small towns upstate.

Anonymous said...

And before some real-estate shill jumps in with "things always change in NYC" - the last 2 or 3 years have been very different than the previous 10-15. Reliable, long standing, genuine, neighborhood businesses (restaurants, diners, record stores, framing stores, delis) have all been forced out or closed and in almost every single case replaced by bland, corporate, "themed" bullshit.

That's what has changed and it is what is different to the normal growth and evolution of a complex city and an area within that city. Manhattan is increasingly run for the benefit of the super-rich, children of those rich who are going to school here, tourists, and B&T types. People like me (and, I suspect, most of the people who read this site) are no longer wanted or welcome here.

Adios!

Gojira said...

Oh crap no! My Belgian waffle and sausage side breakfasts with rum butter!

Anon. 9:16 - you nailed it. This is not New York "changing". This is New York being stripped of its character, individuality and rough charm, all to benefit corporations and the mindless, soulless drones they attract.

nygrump said...

They aren't just replaced, but the replacement is replaced over and over, so the tenants have to endure repeated buildouts on a near annual basis. The corner of 7th and 2nd Ave, now is Picnics (which has been closed for a couple weeks now) has had several buildouts since it was Kiev. It is a evil tax forced on to the residents to have to endure this shit.

Glenn Belverio said...

Good lord, where will it end!? Have been going to 7A since 1986. Did not detect anything "going downhill" there. I brought a group of friends there last month and we had a blast. Our waitress was very entertaining and the food was great.

Anonymous said...

Up until now there hasn't been a restaurant that has closed where I've felt such a sense of loss. Even before I moved to New York in 2001 this was one of "my" restaurants when I would come up from Texas to visit friends. I became friends with the waitstaff and knew that the restaurant treating them well, which is why they remained there (or returned). Truly, truly a loss for the neighborhood, and in particular, me. Farewell, Austrian Chicken sandwich :-(

Anonymous said...

What Gojira said exactly -- and once Cedar Tavern became a waxing salon, it was really clear. These recent demises, one after the next, for more frat-driven crap just make me more and more ready to get out of the EV.

Ian Kirkman said...

one of my favorite brunch spots. Always good, dependable food in a great location.

gaminette said...

7A is on my block and we go there for brunch practically every other week. I can't even articulate my disappointment. The EVill is turning (has turned?) into Fort Lauderdale. Horrible - and bloody depressing.

uncle Pete said...

how about the bright side? how about all the awesome neighborhood openings the last 2-3 years, opened by neighborhood folks? I think there is an unnoticed balance here. Tacos Morelos, Dave over at Goodbeer, the nice lady running Zucker on 9th, our boy over at BobWhite on Ave C.. Did someone say waffles? Pop over to Tom DeGeest's belgian spot on Ave B and 2nd. He lives on the block. Started his business from a truck and now has a gorgeous little cafe in his own neighborhood. Awesome coffee and great people watching. These are people fighting the good fight and providing patches in the torn quilt. hit them up!!!
anyone think of any I am missing join in and add them!
-the eternal optomist, Uncle Pete

Jelani said...

I've only lived in the EV for about a year and a half, but this is awful - 7A is an EV institution. The number of changes I've seen in my relatively short time here has been nauseating, so I can only imagine what it feels like for people who have been here for much longer.

Sarah said...

Stay strong, Veselka, stay strong!

Anonymous said...

if this is true, you're about to see a grown man cry. i live on that block, and 7A is an anchor for me, my go-to spot when i don't know where i want to eat or don't feel like deciding. my boyfriend and i have watched our relationship blossom and grow sitting at those tables, among other venerable EV haunts. i try not to jump too quickly on the EV-is-dying bandwagon b/c there's nowhere else i want to live (and i've been in the city a while now), but i'll admit that this particular news made a voice in the back of my head go 'sigh. you may end up having to find another hood.' ugh. ugh. ugh.

BT said...

From a business standpoint I find this strange and telling of something. I'm just not sure what it foretells.

If it's not a rent thing, then why would you close down 7A? It seems like it was a viable, profitable business. It's difficult to start a profitable business and it's difficult to find a paying, trustworthy tenant. So kicking them out doesn't make sense. And if I was the owner of 7A and wanted to close I'd sell, not simply close.

So something doesn't make sense.

creature said...

This is very upsetting. I've been in the EV 14 years and have been waited on wonderfully by some of the same people during all that time. 7A felt like home.

Also too, no more rum butter. Sad.

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

Queue the next all-biscuit, all-fro yo in a hoof, the-chef-wants-to-tell you-stories-about-the-food "concept" restaurant. This is such lame news.

Wax said...

Damn, so many beautiful memories were made here! And this my go to place whenever I'm jetlagged and hungry at 4 in the morning.

Sad... sad... sad...

Legitimate Golf said...

The Grieve Machine is in overdrive lately. I moved here in 2001, and that is starting to seem like several eras ago. When I get to thinking of all the places I've liked that have come and gone, I feel like a real old-timer.

JAZ said...

Gotta love these real estate shills with their "NYC is alllllwayyyys changing" mantra.

Yeah, NYC is changing the way a cut down tree is changing.

Anonymous said...

What UnclePete said....if you don't like the news go make some of your own...there's a whole new generation of authentic, friendly home grown local establishments just waiting to be the repository of your nostalgia. Celebrate and patronize the new and authentic. Sure go ahead and grieve what you were used to but it's a distortion of reality to say the EV is bereft of idiosyncratic mom and pops. I've lived here 27 years and in the aggregate there are more small shops of character than there have ever been. Is 7-11 a drag? yes. Is the loss of any establishment that kept a group of people employed for a decade deeply sad? Yes. But lapsing into misrepresentations of some glory day that never existed or not recognizing that very very few small business don't turnover on a regular basis is intellectually dishonest. I'm going go have my umpteenth fried chicken sandwich at Bob Whites or a Tamale at Zaragoza grocery and be incredibly excited that they are just a couple blocks from my apartment and are trying to make here in our neighborhood.

g whiz said...

This makes me incredibly sad. 7a was a haven back in the day when it wasn't so safe to wander past Ave. A and was still great when I went and had a burger there last week. I understand the sadness but maybe it's just time for the owner to retire. Running a 24 hour restaurant and dealing with the city for 30 plus years would wear the strongest person down.

JRU said...

What's with all of these places closing for non rent related reasons over the past two weeks? Sapporo East, Shima, 7A?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how well all these new "theme" or corporate restaurants will do in this neighborhood. I know there are plenty of recent transplants that think a good time is spending a day at "Dave & Buster" (look it up, there is on on 42nd street built into one of the insane movie theaters there) but fortunately the street traffic and just smaller population here is unlikely to support more vanilla.

Anonymous said...

This can't be true! NOOOOO!

Uncle Waltie said...

"The corner of 7th and 2nd Ave, now is Picnics..."

Last time I looked into this place on my way home from Baczinsky it reminded me of something you'd find on Columbus Avenue or the Upper East Side. No flair or character at all. Run of the mill generic decor and clientele.

Giovanni said...

This trend towards what I call the sushification if the East Village is sad indeed. When long-time favorite local businesses like Dojos, 7A, Life Cafe, Kiev, Sapporo, plus countless Chinese, Indian, Polish and other ethnic restaurants can no longer survive, the business model of retail in New York is broken, and Bloomberg and the 1 percenters helped break it.

Even big chains and franchises like 7-11, The Gap, Subways, Papa Johns, Pinkberry and Starbucks have all closed down outlets downtown over the last few years. And what ever happened to Carvel?

I doubt it was the Halal carts and food trucks driving all these businesses away. It was greed, pure and simple. Many landlords have such deep pockets and investors who are willing to wait for years just so they can gouge any retail tenant willing to pay a rent that cannot be afforded, unless the business has huge volume or margins, or like Starbucks, both.

Now we find out global sushi chain OOTOYA is gobbling up local sushi restaurants like Robatoya on 9th St, where they will be exporting all the profits back to the Japanese stock market just so they can sell more stock and buy more of our local restaurants. First we were gentrified, now we are being sushified. What chance do the locals stand unless City Hall gets involved to help support and defend locally owned businesses?

Now all we've got to look forward to instead of our favorite places is more banks, bars, biscuits, beauty salons, Dollar pizza/$25 Dollar pizza, and global sushi chains sucking all the money out of the neighborhood and into the Japanese stock market.

The sushification of the East Village continues.

Anonymous said...

NO!!!!!!!!

Marco said...

So, "staff moral was waning" ??

Those Godless employees, haha!!

Heath Terry said...

Add me to the list of people really upset by this. I used to live on that block from 96-99 and still made it back once every couple of months. Too many memories to count. Damn.

jose garcia said...

Everyone who can should frequent the place before the end of the month and tip as extravagantly as your pocketbooks can afford.

Anonymous said...

So if the owner of 7A is an investor in the building, it sounds like this closure isn't due to a rent increase. For what they are getting in rent from the new high-paying tenants, maybe he just didn't need the hassle of running a restaurant anymore. I also wonder if they shut down the restaurant because people paying all that money for the apartments above might not want to live over a restaurant. It will be interesting to see what replaces 7A.

Goggla said...

Terrible news. After Kiev, 7A was one of my first experiences of the EV. So many good memories there...what a loss.

Glenn Belverio said...

Oh lord, put a cork in it hipster foodies up there. "Uncle Pete" et al. Stop trying to shove the new "authentic" down our throats. The waffle place on 2nd street is an eyesore. Your obsession with food trends is nauseating.

Places like 7A are about more than just the food--these are places that are full of memories for longtime residents. There's emotional and historical value in these places. We don't care if their hamburger meat wasn't artisanally slaughtered with a repurposed hatchet in some backyard in Bushwick.

Anonymous said...

I lament the loss of a neighborhood institution but the redesign of the restaurant last year was odd and doesn't seem to have improved the space. Food was always hit-or-miss and mediocre in my opinion. For reliable 24 hour basic food I would always choose Remedy or Veselka anyway. Hopefully the new restaurant will hire back some of the long time staff who have relationships with local residents. Would be a smart business move.

Anonymous said...

Serge Becker and Josh Pickard (Lafayette, Miss Lilys, The Dutch) are taking it over.

Anonymous said...

serge Becker is new owner

uncle Pete said...

Glen Belverio- You read my all wrong brother I aint no foodie and those aint no artisinal spots. they're owned by 1) a mexican family who run a truck 2) some southern dude 3) a jewish lady who likes to bake. 4) a stoner dude who likes beer

Foodie spots come from pedigreed chef lineage 3rd place on 6th season of Chopped blah blah blah.
These are just little spots in the 'hood owned by some dude you know

Give them a whirl and hit us back, not an ounce of pretension or 'artisinal' in any of those places.

uncle Pete said...

oh Glen forgot to address the waffle dig.. Sure its a gaudy European looking thing, but its still a shop owned by a guy who lives on the block, came here from Belgium and quit his job slaving for the man to sell waffles from a truck. He now employs 24 people. That is kinda cool in my book whether you like his taste in decor or not.

Glenn Belverio said...

Fair enough, Uncle Pete. But I will skip the waffles place. When I want Eurogrub, I go to a demure French cafe with subdued lighting--or Europe.

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

Sorry but a lot of these newer restaurants can fuck off, for starters Nicoletta and their $23 personal pizzas, Otto's and their under-filled, under-whelming tacos, anyplace that sells waffles as dinner and ...don't get me started on the biscuit buddies.

What's great about 7A is they have a little bit of everything. It's one of the few places in the neighborhood that a group of people, whether meat eaters, vegetarian or vegan, could all find something to eat in an affordable, non pretentious setting that wasn't a Dude/Bro/OMG Girl shriek fest. And the strong drinks and friendly waitstaff didn't hurt!

I'm sad to see it go.

Anonymous said...

What sucks is that everything has to be a narrow trend these days. Some of us like variety and hate charred kale.

Anonymous said...

EVERYTHING YOU LIKED IS NOW GONE.

Marty E. said...

This is an absolute tragedy. It seems that the apocalypse is continuing in the EV/LES in the new year.

Jennifer said...

I know it's going to sound redundant but my heart is literally broken! I've been living here since 1989. I've taken everyone to 7A when they visit, from my mom to out of town friends to my fiance who's from Italy. I ordered out from 7A, gone there countless times after work way back when we worked coat check at The Bank (remember that place?) There are SO many memories in that restaurant. It's true that the prices were great and a varied menu made it a classic, esp when we started losing places like Around The Clock back in the late 90's. Not only do I need to go there one more time before they close but also to one of my favorite dance places- which I wont name for fear of them closing as well.. I guess right now I just feel like I have to try to enjoy as much as possible the very few things that are still here.

Anonymous said...

I bet it's another restaurant with bodies bursting up through the floors like the hunt for red october!

Anonymous said...

Learned about the closing eating there this morning. I'll miss 7A just like everyone else. But geeze.... The owner couldn't make payroll! And the place can get pretty friggn busy. So something was broken. As noted, the experience can be hit and miss. I sensed bad tidings when they added burger in a blanket and the lobster club to the menu. These were direct shots at new locals. Definitely feel for the long time staff, especially the kitchen crew. They're the ones that need support, the sell out owner not so much.

Fipper said...

wow, this is really really sad!!! Somehow, this piece of news just made me feel a lot older...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:34 PM: Knows the score. A disengaged owner who is more interested in real estate than the neighborhood and making payroll. He let his staff and the community down. Once Doug the GM left the place went straight downhill. Doug was the heart and soul of the place. Along with the locals who frequented frequently for years and years.

Anonymous said...

You're all welcome in Jersey City. Plenty of EV vibe here, great food, great access, good bars, cheaper rents.

Alan W. Moore said...

Is this the building that Fred Good told Clayton Patterson (in "Resistance") was given to the University of the Streets by a Dutch philanthropist?

Anonymous said...

best idea and comment yet! thinking about others instead of yourselves. amazing job kind sir! :)

Anonymous said...

The closing of 7A is a crying shame - - one of the few places that families could go. I hope the hardest working busboys and kitchen staff in NYC will be compensated for their dedicated service.

Anonymous said...

For the record it is "morale" and sad to hear that it is diminished over the loss of a familiar restaurant. If you have a rental home in Manhattan hang onto it. It would really suck to have to feed your nostalgia from sixty miles away.