Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Too many restaurants-cafes have closed in the East Village so far this year


[Photo outside Cafecito via EVG reader Holly]

Bago, First Avenue between East 13th Street and East 14th Street. The quick-serve Filipino restaurant has been closed now for several weeks without any explanation. The restaurant just opened back in June.

Ballaro, Second Avenue between East Fourth Street and East Fifth Street. The Italian cafe closed after some seven years. Per the owners: "With rising cost of operating a small business in NYC and the changes in the neighborhood, we could no longer stay afloat."

Blythe Ann's, East Sixth Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. The former Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, which sold vegan ice cream and other dairy-free desserts, closed without any official explanation. Lula's opened in 2008.

Cafecito, Avenue C between East 11th Street and East 12th Street. The 14-year-old Cuban restaurant closed, according to one insider, because business had been dwindling "and the Cafecito team didn't want to see it go out of business slowly and sadly."

DF Mavens, Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place. The vegan ice cream shop and cafe abruptly shut down after 13 months. No reason given for the closure.

Mumbles, Third Avenue at East 17th Street. Business had dropped off in recent years, and the family-owned restaurant decided to sell the restaurant a few blocks north here in Gramercy Park.

Ninth Ward, Second Avenue between East 11th Street and East 12th Street. The New Orleans-themed bar with a small menu closes Sunday after six years in business. No reason given for the closure, though there's a rumor that the landlord is going to renovate the building.

Nonna's Pizza, Avenue A between East 12th Street and East 13th Street. The pizzeria closed at the end of 2015. A new owner bought the place on New Year's Day, and Baker's Pizza will arrive very soon.

Northern Spy, East 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. The early farm-to-table purveyor closes after service on Feb. 17. Per the owners: "We've had a great run and are very proud of what we accomplished in this space in the last six years, but 2015 was a tough year and we did not manage to pull the nose up to restore the flight altitude we once enjoyed. We're hanging it up while we still have the buttons on our pants."

NY Macaroni, St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. The quick-serve mac-and-cheese spot shut down at the end of 2015, though the news about the 6-month-old restaurant's closure didn't start circulating until early January.

Poppy's Gourmet Deli, Avenue A at East 12th Street. The inexpensive deli, which served a variety of sandwiches, closed because the owners said they couldn't afford to pay the new higher rent.

PYT, the Bowery between Great Jones and Bond. The Philadelphia stunt burger joint closed after just three months. No reason given for the closure.

Subway (sandwich shop), Fourth Avenue at East 12th Street. This marks the sixth Subway sandwich shop to close in the immediate area in the past three-plus years.

Tut, East Third Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. The landlord took legal possession of the short-lived hookah bar-restaurant at the end of January.

Winebar, Second Ave. between East Third Street and East Fourth Street. The owners are teaming with chef Matthew Kenney to open a plant-based pizzeria and wine bar in the space.

Temporary closures:

Empire Biscuit, Avenue A between East 12th Street and East 13th Street. Temporarily closed until March, per the paper-plate sign on the door.

Pak Punjab Deli and Grocery, Second Avenue at East Third Street. The corner market that sells inexpensive homemade Pakistani-Punjabi food at the counter has been closed since early January. There aren't any signs about about a closure. Several EVG readers believe the space is just undergoing a renovation.

• Yakitori Taisho, St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue. The popular subterranean space has been closed for several weeks. (The below photos are from Jan. 28)





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Unfortunately, I don't think this is a complete list. Any other bars-restaurants-cafes close in 2016 from the neighborhood?

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt the Honey Fitz will be on this list next year,

Anonymous said...

In the East Village and according to CB3, there is no difference amongst bars or cafes or restaurants -- they're all bars or eventually will be a bar.

DrGecko said...

Ahem.

Stage.

Thank you.

Also, the heading "Too many" is misleading in the case of Subway. Should read "Not enough."

Anonymous said...

"too many"? that's an odd way to put it. yes, commercial rents are outrageous but some places close simply because they aren't very good or poorly managed.

Anonymous said...

Also Nino's Pizza on Ave. A and St. Marks, which has been "temporarily" closed for some time.

Anonymous said...

"some places close simply because they aren't very good or poorly managed." That may be the case with some of the newbies but most new businesses have training wheels on for the first year or two. The difference today from the past is that the high rend does not allow for any margin or error.

EV Grieve said...

It's not a very good headline. Still, the point was to recap the places that have closed in 2016. I included NY Macaroni and Nonna's, whose last days were Dec. 31... but whose closures weren't revealed until early in the New Year.

Nino's had to (temporarily) close last October, which is why I didn't include it. The Stage has been closed since March 30.

LPIFLY said...

Minca is still in limbo

John M said...

Poppy's and Nino's are the only ones I miss, especially Nino's. The rest...I didn't even notice that most of them were in existence, to be honest. It's not like losing Kiev or Leshko's when you talk about them.

blue glass said...

the closing of small stores because of outrageous rents is not limited to the east village. most of the small old-time stores that are still in business in the city bought their buildings. over the past few years i have commented to stores that i am so glad they are still around and their reply has mostly been "we bought the building".
there was a time when real estate was actually affordable - when there was massive landlord abandonment and just before gentrification became an every day conversation.
buying your building from the landlord was possible, kevin in the out and about above is a perfect example. many of the tenant co-ops started when landlords stopped paying their taxes, fuel and utility bills, made absolutely no repairs, and tenants started to organize.
because of the rampant landlord abandonment the city became the owner of hundreds of then unwanted in-rem (tax foreclosed) buildings and were forced to create programs to deal with these tenanted buildings. thus was created the tenant interim lease and homestead programs. these were the pioneer days down here, in the arts and in housing.
over time this turned into a gold rush and the wolves were all too happy to take advantage.
and while i too do not miss the wild wild west of the east village and lower east side, places where folks can find an affordable apartment or inexpensive diner have always been in "marginal" neighborhoods. new york city no longer has that safety valve. we have have become an international tourist trap where the streets are paved in faux glittering gold and the charm, creativity, and diversity of neighborhoods has been stripped away and replaced by individual self-contained cities in insulated glass luxury towers of greed.

eddie haskell said...

not sure how "Pinks" on 1st and 10th hasnt closed yet. the new sign they have on the corner is obnoxious and tacky.

BagelGuy said...

It's just not an easy business. And it's NOT just the rents. If it were only the rents it would still be a tough fight but it's so much more. It's a gang tackle against the small business man. You have the landlord gut punching you. The city jabbing you with BS fines ( New ones every year) and meaningless licnese renewals. You have politicians who decide everyone deserves paid sick leave. Great. I'm all for it. But how about paying for some of the cost instead of throwing it into the lap of the small biz owner? Minimum wage increase? Same. Small biz guy always takes it on the chin. Not only are we on our own; we are actually fighting battles against the very people who should be supporting us every day. Politicians love to go on TV and spout lines about how small biz is the backbone of our economy and how we are so vital to communities. Problem is , they never EVER help us with anything. So yes, landlords suck; especially in the EV. But most of us small biz owners are tough enough to take on one bully. It's compounded by the other clowns. That's why places are dropping left and right around town.

Giovanni said...

Don't forget to add Teavana to the list, the Starbucks owned tea bar on Broadway that replaced Silver Spurs Diner, and will now become yet another Starbucks. Based on how empty some local places usually are, several more cafes and restaurants have been running on fumes and I suspect are only surviving because they have backers with deep pockets.

Also, I just heard that Carnegie Deli finally reopened after 10 months. They also had a gas siphoning issue that had to be fixed, and it took forever to get the new work approved by DOB. The Hyrnenko EV gas explosion continues to haunt us.

Anonymous said...

mariella pizza on 3rd ave and 16th was closed due to a "gas leak" the other day when i went by. i sure hope that's what it is. if i lose that place, i'll flip.

Anonymous said...

Cafe Pick Me Up :-(

blue glass said...

bagel guy. you are correct. commercial rent protection has been an issue for over 20 years, passed back and forth like a hot football between the state and the city yet going nowhere. if there were some protections, at least the extraordinary costs of doing business in the city could be phased in over time.
small business is handicapped, as are small tenant-owned buildings. contractors, merchants, employees, etc. do not charge less for small jobs. everyone wants to make a killing. they want large profits. have you tried to hire an electrician or plumber lately?
our city "officials" complained they can't live here on their salaries and voted themselves as 32% (was it 32%) raise. give me a break!
soon they too will not be able to find anyone who can provide them with necessary services or dry cleaning because only the very poor and the rich will live here - and tourists don't do windows.
every time there is a wage increase or a rent increase, or a new tax, fee, or whatever, EVERY TIME, the cost of things goes up too. there used to a balance in this system, increases were not so drastic, but not any longer.
but then pizza and transportation were a dime, and public phones were five cents.

Anonymous said...

Alder too.

EV Grieve said...

Thanks for the additions...

Alder closed in August 2015... Cafe Pick Me Up closed in May 2015 before moving part of the business in with Gnocco on East 10th Street...

cmarrtyy said...

I was talking to a guy I know who owns a successful restaurant in the EV. He said that if his landlord were to offer a buyout he would take it in a heart beat. Why? I asked. New York has lost it. The neighborhood has lost it. It's too much trouble for the money you make. And business is down all over. Sounds legit. Sounds real. I wonder how many of the closed businesses that have closed are just tired of the City.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

Headline is fine; the turnover here is appalling.

I just found out that Kingsley, the restaurant that took over Back 40 is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, WTF!

What Bagel Guy said is spot on. The city needs to cut small biz a break!

Scott Stringer, Bill de Blasio, Rosie Mendez, Gail Brewer, Melissa Mark Viverito: please help and pass something!

willowz said...

No doubt everyone will close. Only chains can afford this insulting rent. These landlords are a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

At one point I attended the CB3 SLA meetings every month because of all the licenses on my block. It goes back to former Council Member Margareta Lopez, who opened the door for all the bars, without any care for the quality of life for the residents. Looking at the situation, the only way a new restaurant can make it is if it has a Liquor License. Because of the over saturation of licenses in the area, a new restaurant may have to wait. Unfortunately the wait can put them out of business. The community suffers, we then continue to live with all the many noisy bars, and empty storefronts. You can thank the landlords, the real estate people , NYU (who is no longer an educator but a real estate mogul), and the local council members for creating a neighborhood without goods and services for the local residents. We have become a destination for bridge and tunnel party kids that come here to party with the NYU students.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully some of the bars will close too. The bars just make Second Avenue a drunken pit stop.

DrGecko said...

Not restaurant/cafe, but the Idolo Tacos truck that used to hang around Astor place went away last summer, which was a shame because their tripe tacos are delicious.

If you're making a list for this year, the Tacos Morelos truck that used to hang around 2nd St near Ave A disappeared about a week ago, which is also a shame even though they don't have tripe tacos. Their storefront on 9th St doesn't have barbacoa, either.

Anonymous said...

We will see far more restaurant closures in 2016 accelerating into 2017 unless there is a modification of the minimum wage laws. I fully support the increase to $15/hour. This money needs to go to the "back of house" workers, the line cooks, janitors and dishwasher for example. When applied to bartenders and waitstaff it increases costs for workers who in many cases are making well over $40,000 a year, sometimes up to $80,000/year. Most restaurants have small profit margins and will fail if labor costs go up across the board. The alternative is to raise prices and eliminate tipping, a huge cultural change that will never take place before the deluge of closings takes its toll.

Anonymous said...

BagelGuy - Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

Whats really sad, is that the community board recently denied Northern Spy's request for a full liquor license. They bitched about the lines, and crowds ... yet, seemed to overlook what great neighbors they were, how much they helped the neighborhood after Sandy and how much of an asset they were to the neighborhood. Had they been more willing to help out their own neighborhood, who knows if they would have had to close. Now, wahts going to go in that space? Until the community board actually supports good neighborhood businesses, i expect to see this happen more and more.

Anonymous said...

I think the restaurant closures are indicative of what the new East Village resident wants which are places to munch on no frills eats while getting drunk--think Doublewide. That place is always packed. It drives the neighbors nuts and I wouldn't eat there again but it is thriving with twentysomethings and so are other places with the same approach.

blue glass said...

anonymous 1:14 you are correct
unfortunately i feel it is too late to save what little is left.
there was a glimmer of hope when cb#3 had a college student following up on a block association map of all the liquor licenses - don't remember there ever being completion of this.
or the residents organizing more than their own block in order to become a more powerful group (the LES dwellers started but seems to have gone into the larger arena of politics)
it is significant that owners with successful businesses have also opted out - the first avenue meat market closed because they could do better renting their storefront rather than working the shop - the gourmet deli on 2nd avenue (11th street) one of the first delis in the neighborhood did the same thing (isn't essa bagel coming there?), dirobertis sold the building after how many years (i really miss them). how far back do you want to go?
do you want to count supermarkets, shoe repair stores, bodegas, butchers, dairy stores, small drug stores, everything stores, cleaners, tailors, bakeries, etc. we have lost a lifetime of local mom and pop stores.
i think it all started with the closing of leshkos on avenue a and 7th street.

Ms. Darko said...

Lit Lounge: 2nd Ave between 5th and 6th streets

BagelGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The worst thing about the East Village is all the old crusty lonely miserable trolls that frequent these comment boards. Trolls who cant stand anything. Pathetic and useless.

Parlor said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

Northern Spy got a liquor license and closed in 6 months after they got it, so what are you talking about. Now they will sell it and we will be stuck with someone else, thus the reason residents opposed it.

Anonymous said...

At blue glass. The cb 3 economic development committee of which I am a member are trying to get the ev declared a special district would allow for zoning changes to stop the onslaught of chains and nightlife, with nightlife being the biggest problem. Please stop denigrating the block associations in the neighborhood who work very hard to support small businesses and stop nightlife. If you want to start are larger movementioned give it a try but don't knock those of us doing what we can with our blocks.

Anonymous said...

@Bagel Guy - some of the small businesses in the hood survive because the landlord owns part of the business and the business caters to the newbies with their obsession with taking selfies of their food. French Toast bagels and birthday cream cheese are not my thing, I like adult food.

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

Amen

BagelGuy said...

@anon7:29 AKA Andrew. Again, if you're determined to speak out of your butt, at least have the decency to post a pic of your butt in the little box. 1) LL owns no part of TSB. 2) Last I checked, TSB had a healthy mix of young and old. 3) Anonymity = Cowardice. You know my name, you know what I look like, you know where to find me. That's because I am not ashamed of what I'm posting.

Anonymous said...

I love you blue glass. Did you know that some of the block and neighborhood associations are responsible for like 20 storefronts not being a bar or restaurant. If you could only imagine how much worse it could be.

BagelGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The little pizza place on the southwest corner of E. 3rd St. and Avenue C has been closed for a couple of weeks now. The sign on Avenue C says the electricity is out. The sign on E. 3rd St. says the place is for sale.

Anonymous said...

Empire Biscuit closing for keeps would be a good thing. doesn't matter that they are not a chain. they are a chain wanna be! That's how they sold it to their investors.

Anonymous said...

japanese restaurant on 1st between 11th and 12th closed as well

Scuba Diva said...

Nobody mentioned Lan café?

EV Grieve said...

Lan Cafe closed in April 2015, Scuba Diva. This list is for 2016.

I do miss Lan, though...

Trixie said...

I loved Poppy's and I miss them already, but I'd like to give a shout-out to the Santa Barbara Deli & Grocery (formerly Superette) on 12th and B. It's a solid long time neighborhood stalwart that's only a block away. Good people.

Anonymous said...

Hummus Place

Anonymous said...

I'm mourning the loss of Crepes Canaveral. They've been replaced by a new crepe kitchen with a different name inside of William Barnacle Tavern. The crepes are just awful. They replaced the fresh fruit with jam and replaced the crispy edged crepes with an insipid abomination. Where art thou Jean-Christophe? I've heard rumors that he moved to 6th Street, but can't find anything.