Thursday, February 26, 2015

And now Benny's to-go closes on Avenue A


[Photo by Fenton Lawless]

Benny's Burrito's closed for good after service on Nov. 29, as we first reported.

However, the small consolation was that Benny's would still offer food to go and make deliveries from a small storefront adjacent to the restaurant space here on Avenue A and East Sixth Street.

Now, though, that too comes to an end: tonight is the last night for the to-go business. (If you're thinking about ordering a last Benny's meal: They don't have everything left in stock, things like vegetables.)

Back in November, owner Mark Merker told Lisha Arino at DNAinfo that Benny's has had trouble staying afloat, as costs and rents rose while competition increased from Chipotle and other restaurants that served burritos.

Benny's first opened in the East Village in 1988.



Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Benny's Burritos is closing; will offer take-out only service (50 comments)

33 comments:

Giovanni said...

Thanks a lot Chipotle, can we have our neighborhood back when you start closing down your stores too?

Anonymous said...

I guess people just didn't like Benny's.

Anonymous said...

I never liked their food, but am really saddened by the fact that a business that has been here for 27 years can't stay afloat. And another empty storefront in this area, just one block away from the empty corner of A and 5th, where the pharmacy used to be.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Giovanni doesn't understand the reality of market competition. If Benny's had a better product, it could compete. By every account I've heard, Chipotle is better.

Morgan Tsvangirai said...

I liked Benny's a lot. It wasn't the greatest food, but it was nice having dinner for two for around $50.

I don't really think it's competition from Chipotle that caused it to close though. The nearest one isn't that close.

I guess people would rather pay a lot more to have dinner at a fancier place like El Camion or Mercadito. Or maybe the only way to afford rent is by charging a ton for margs and burritos.

Anonymous said...

Another nail in the coffin of what was once the mighty EV. Benny's was dope and unpretentious. If you have a negative comment about this place then you are part of the problem that destroyed this once great neighborhood.

jose garcia said...

Anon 7:10: That's exactly right. Food was never great but remember when they first opened how happy we were to have a new place to try. And in later years a very reasonable place to cop a buzz. xo, jg

Anonymous said...
I never liked their food, but am really saddened by the fact that a business that has been here for 27 years can't stay afloat. And another empty storefront in this area, just one block away from the empty corner of A and 5th, where the pharmacy used to be.

February 26, 2015 at 7:10 PM

Mike Diaz said...

Benny's hasn't been good for years. They started microwaving everything and the insides of the burritos were cold. I've been going there since it opened and was saddened to see what was once a fun, edgy place, grow old, complacent and lazy. They once dominated there area with Harry's on 7th street Benny's to go and Benny's but now- nothing. Sad but they were the architects of their own demise

Anonymous said...

The place was often completely packed so it's surprising to hear that business was off. Really nice people worked there - thank you to them for all of the years of EV hospitality! We'll miss you.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the comments about their food being bad. My palate must be unrefined. Been a customer of theirs for years and years and never had a complaint. Sad to see them go, and hope the employees bounce back and find other gigs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Benny's — you fed me well through the years.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mike Diaz. Their food was garbage. Chipotle's food is organic for the most part, and much of it is locally sourced.
You shouldn't eat non-organic fruits and vegetables, as they are laced with petro chemicals.

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to talk about, but in the early 90's I had a "problem" with Triple-B (Benny's breakfast burritos). But a strong support system and the love of my family helped me through it, and I've been Triple-B free for 20 years. But I will miss those fucking burritos, so buttery and cheesy. Mmmmm. *drools*

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of places that have closed recently I miss, Benny's mediocre food won't be one of them.

BB said...

The New York Times reported last week that "a typical order at Chipotle has about 1,070 calories," which is close to the daily recommended caloric intake for an adult (1,600 - 2,400 calories).

creature said...

Sad. I had many, many fun nights at Benny's. Good luck to the employees. Good people.

Giovanni said...

Benny's was a great local hangout for almost 30 years, where many of us who actually live here has great times and great memories, and they served real drinks too. Chipotle is a corporate chain where you stand in a long line, shuffle along as you point through the glass at the ingredients you want, pay extra for the chips and dip, then cop a squat on a little stool at a small shelf or table, stuff your face over a paper plate and eat with a plastic fork, dump your tray in a garbage bin and go.

Unless you are a total cyborg, there is no comparison between the experience of eating at a local place like Benny's and a corporate chain like Chipotle. I doubt that in 30 years anyone will be waxing nostalgic over that great time at Chipotles when they were eating an organic non-GMO fajita bowl served on a paper plate and how much better the food was than Benny's.

You could go to any Podunk town or airport/mall food court in America and have that same commodity Chipotle experience, but nothing can replace community places like Benny's and Dojos and DeRobertis for the memories they have helped create. Bye Benny's, thanks for the memories.

Joan Koveleskie said...

My sentiment exactly

RJJNY said...

Feel bad for the delivery guys, they seemed to work there long-term (one in particular I've seen for ~10 yrs or more) which makes me think Benny's must have been a decent employer.

Anonymous said...

I ate at Benny's for over twenty years, and while the quality of the food has taken a nosedive in recent years for whatever reason, I still loved this place. It was unique and fun and a gathering place for everyone in the neighborhood. All types of people ate here. Everyone felt welcome. We don't have many places like that left anymore which makes the loss of Benny's so heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

bring back burritoville. then i'll jump for joy.

Anonymous said...

I need to book an impromptu session with my therapist about this.

Anonymous said...

Benny's quality has been poor for years. Not a loss

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, this wasn't the best Mexican destination in town. As a west coast transplant, who has lived in NYC since 2000, there has hardly been any real selection of good quality, Mexican restaurants. I don't understand how such a massive, urban city fails to deliver with this cuisine. When I go back and visit Southern California, there are multitudes of Mexican places to choose from, and a majority of them are delicious, with an innate freshness, replete with inexpensive options. WTF NYC?

Anonymous said...

@3:58 PM haven't you heard? We have plenty of Chipotles now, so there's no need for full service Mexican restaurants with real drinks, chairs, tables and ambiance, otherwise some clever Californian would already have opened one by now.

Anonymous said...

What are you people talking about. The state of Mexican food availability in the EV, it might not be that great right now but its at least 100% better than it was 15 years ago. Anyone remember Burritoville?

moe said...

3:58, the basic rule is: new york mexican sucks, california pizza sucks.
Just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Moe: Are you kidding? Mexican food in this city is awesome. Better than in L.A.
The Mexican (and South American) population is huge here. Used to zero. Not anymore.
If you can't find good Mexican food here, you're not looking right.

Anonymous said...

You must be joking if you think nyc has better mexican food than mexifornia. Have you ever been there? LAs pizza has gotten better thanks to nyc transplants but no place in America has better mexican food than LA. Half the population there is mexican.

Anonymous said...

One of the few truly child and adult friendly places to sit and eat on Avnue A. Has anyone noticed all the reasonable restaurants in the neighborhood have closed. Pharmacy simply moved as did toy store, Fei Ma one of the last original places. Tenements are posting at 5,000--railroads! Don't know how people are surviving. I miss the nights out with friends, my daughters' favorite where I might chill with another adult and have a margarita. And what of the long term employees????

Anonymous said...

As for the new great Mexican restaurants. Where are they. The hideous new one that doesnt serve rice because they don't know how to make it, serving bowls of fat and call them meat and hands a tab for over $100 !!! They are there as a bar, and food to hold the liquor down that's it. To sit down there is the fancy pricey, place on 1st, authentic and affordable, Magui, Y La Tuna on Houston, a bit if a long walk though worth it, and Paquitos. No chipotle near here...

Anonymous said...

"...no place in America has better mexican food than LA"

Texas would like a word with you.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Tucson has WAY better Mexican food than LA and not just Tex-Mex style either. They've got styles you've only ever dreamed of there. Mmmmmmm...Of course, it IS Tucson, so there's that.