Monday, February 13, 2017

The Empire has officially fallen: Former Biscuit shop for rent on Avenue A

A for rent sign arrived on Friday at 198 Avenue A between 12th Street and 13th Street, marking the official end of Empire Biscuit.

The quick-serve biscuiteers were only open a few days in 2016. They announced reduced hours in January 2016, and then never reopened. Empire Biscuit owner Jonathan Price promised a return in March. That same month, someone there posted a disposable plate on the front window noting that they were peelin' potatoes.

Legal documents from the landlord arrived on the front door back in the fall. According to that paperwork, the Biscuit owner was in arrears on rent and back taxes to the sum of $106,000.

Meanwhile, the for rent sign stipulates no bars or restaurants.

Empire Biscuit opened, originally 24/7, to some fanfare in the fall of 2013. Several near-by residents were turned off by their slogan — Breakfast Lunch Dinner Drunk.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Incoming Empire Biscuit on Avenue A launches Kickstarter campaign (122 comments)

Report: Empire Biscuit opens today (65 comments)


Anonymous said...

Good riddance!

Empire Bizkit

Anonymous said...

Besides the misstep with their slogan (the drunks part) I was happy Empire was on the block. I am happier however that the landlord has decided against renting to another restaurant (do any last more than 2 years these days) and absolutely thrilled there will not be another bar on the already saturated drunken strip. Please nobody mention to the landlord only restaurants and bar can afford EV rents these days, sshhhhhh.

Gojira said...

All glory is fleeting...

Anonymous said...

The sun always sets on the empire. Wait a minute, or is it the empire always sets at sun . . . oh, forget it!

Giovanni said...

And who can forget this gem, back in the days when people were dropping their Empire Biscuits on the floor...and then eating them. The rapid flameout from all the media hype is what will make Empire Biscuit live on on infamy:

NY Post: Birth of an Empire (Biscuit)

By Caryn Ganeles
Birth of an Empire (Biscuit)
November 10, 2013

It’s 1:30 on a crisp, breezy Sunday afternoon, and Empire Biscuit in the East Village is packed.

A line of peckish New Yorkers stretches to the back of the brand-new biscuit shop, spilling out the door onto the sidewalk. At the front wooden counter, a lanky 20-something in a baseball cap is apologizing to his less-than-pleased girlfriend for dropping her biscuit on the floor. She pouts, taking the slightly bruised biscuit from his hands — and eats it anyway.

In the city that never sleeps, New York has its fair share of 24-hour conveniences. But if you’ve ever found yourself craving a Southern-style biscuit slathered with bacon butter and fig jam in the wee hours of the morning, you would have been out of luck — until now.

As news spread of Empire Biscuit’s pending arrival, foodies across the city pined for a taste of Southern-baked bliss. When it finally did open two weeks ago, demand was so overwhelming that they sold out of everything within hours.

Realizing they were wildly unprepared for the biscuit frenzy they created, they closed the shop for a few days to regroup. Since every product is made by hand, the kitchen initially struggled to find an efficient way to mass-produce, so they changed some of their methods and added several more members to the staff. A week ago, they reopened their doors at 8 a.m.

By 8:07, a line reaching the back of the store had already formed.

Robert Sanes, an enthusiastic employee with a customer service background, was even posted outside as the official “Biscuit Bouncer,” to control the flow of traffic and answer questions from curious passers-by.

“I never expected that a biscuit shop would need a bouncer, but this is awesome!” exclaims Sanes, a Washington Heights resident.

Adriana Kertzer, a design entrepreneur who lives around the corner, is thrilled to have the new option in the neighborhood.

“I was sick and tired of pizza places popping up during the recession,” says the 34-year-old. “It’s so nice to have some variety.”

Anonymous said...

They deserve some weird kind of credit, for maintaining such a chipper facade, even throughout this long, drawn-out, sad demise.

Anonymous said...

What a wasted opportunity. They could have done a brisk business if they didn't cater to the "drunks" of the neighborhood and created a space that had more than a few stools. This is what happens when a couple of young, inexperienced guys get together to create something "cool." They should have done a lot more research and prep and created a business that served the local residents. It's the perfect spot. Hopefully, someone smart will grab it.

Anonymous said...

"maintaining such a chipper facade"

I call it hubris.

Anonymous said...

What a sad end. Where was any of the blood sweat and tears needed to prop up any successful small business? These guys seemed to pack it in at the first sign of problems. How many months of rent was wasted in 2016 hiding behind papered windows peelin' potatoes, making no effort whatsoever to revive the project. Have some pride men, why not go down swinging. To be honest their concept did not seem like a complete disaster. With some B, S & T and an open heart it could've been made to work in my opinion. There are way worse successes out there. For instance that chain that from what I can tell sells nothing but really tiny cupcakes. WTF is that?


But boy! Did they know woodworking!

Anonymous said...

They were incredibly rude the two times I stopped in. Can't shed a tear for this one.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that cool doorway was squandered on this dreck of a business. It'll be ripped apart. Unless another Japanese or Asian foodie joint usurps the place and builds on the design.

Mr. East Village said...

So long, jerks.

Anonymous said...

This failed enterprise has received more coverage on EVG than it ever merited. This business was an iconic example of ego on the march--ego without the slightest idea of how to run a business that would endure beyond a few months. Good bye, with no regrets.