Sunday, December 29, 2013

At Mee Noodle Shop and Grill

Mee Noodle Shop and Grill had a soft opening of sorts last night… where the restaurant at 223 First Ave. welcomed back customers with free food. Everyone we talked to about last night at Mee — loved it.

From EVG regular William Klayer:

"We walked past the long line of people clogging the sidewalk to get into Momofuko. Mee was filled but we had a table in five minutes. The whole time we were there no one came in who wasn't seated virtually right away. The staff and the vibe was super neighborhood friendly. Order any dish you want (no fresh fish because they didn't have it yet) all free with a smile and a thank you for coming in. Awesome."

From EVG Facebook friend Michael Hirsch:

"It was great. The staff was wonderful too. Really into opening again in the neighborhood. Quite a few old regulars showed up for their return."

Also last night… Miron Properties broker Conrad Bradford, who represented the landlord and the tenants, presented owner Li Zhu Wong with a painting of Allen Ginsberg, one of Mee's most devoted customers from the previous location on First Avenue.

Mee has its official grand opening tonight, according to a sign on the front window. Mee had to move away from its old First Avenue space when the building was sold seven years ago.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Starbucks confirmed for 219 First Ave., former home to Allen Ginsberg's favorite Chinese restaurant

Mee Noodle Shop returning to First Avenue (28 comments)


Anonymous said...

I love me some Mee!

Giovanni said...

Here's the back story on Mee Noodle: According to a Mee employee, when they lost the old location on the corner of 13th St. Because the walls were cracked, they had an agreement with the owner to return to the old space once the new building went up. Then before they know it Starbucks shows up and all of a sudden the deal is off and their deal is no good anymore, not sure if they got bought out or just plain old screwed over. In either case it feels like Starbucks pushed their way into a location they once upon a time would have been more sensitive about entering, but that was many moons and stock options ago, now it's all about global domination.

That corner Starbucks is cramped, dark and a sorry excuse for a coffee shop, especially in the same area as Mud coffee and The Bean. Their new Peter Cooper location on 23rd street is much more appropriate to a chain with deep pockets, with plenty of tables, room and light, and at least there they replaced what used to be a Chase Bank and not a local business that had an agreement to return and then got pushed aside.

So back to oir story: when the store front a few doors down became available, the new landlord called them to say he wanted them to take over the space since they had been such a great business and since Mee was missed by the community. Or maybe he just likes good Chinese food. T.ue landlord gave them a good deal, and now has a great tenant that everyone wanted back. Obviously they appreciated what Mee Noodle and Allen Ginsburg mean to the area in a way that Starbucks and certain kinds of landlords do not.

This is how more building owners should operate, by finding great local businesses that the community actually wants to support, and that offer a great product or service, not just another lousy chain store. Landlords control the character of a neighborhood through their selection of what stores they will lease to, it's nice to have at least one that actually gets it.

Anonymous said...

They better not have a secret speakeasy joint through their kitchen where you give the kitchen staff a wink and a nod to get in and a mixologist that creates cocktails with a blowtorch.

blue glass said...

how great to have a happy ending to a landlord/tenant story.
happy they are back.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I think Allen loved the old Mee Noodle because he could show up with veggies and they cook them for him and because, in general, they prepared his food--mostly steamed fish and a green veggie--how he like it. It wasn't so much that Allen loved Mee's food as much as he loved that Mee's made Allen's food. It's worth noting that the people at Mee's treated Allen more or less like they treated everyone else--with respect. I'm so glad they are back.

Crazy Eddie said...

Allen who?

"When the plaque went up on the East Village building saying that it was where Allen Ginsberg once lived, the two young men who now occupy the poet's old apartment had only this to say:

Who was he?"

Anonymous said...

Went tonight for chicken and broccoli. I was pleased with the vibe, service, and food.

The one thing that seemed obvious is that the crew working there was really, really happy about it. Workers in the open kitchen had a pleasant look about them, and a few looked up and said hello when I walked in.

This chapter sounds like a good one for our neighborhood, so go in and try it.

vzabuser said...

Double Sauteed Pork Lunch special- Every bit as good as it was 10 years ago! and almost the same price.

Makeout said...

This post has inspired my lunch choice today. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yea!! We're eating dinner here tonight! Pixie was lots younger when it closed, but remembers it well. Ordered his old usual. So did I. It's lovely to have them back. :-))