Wednesday, March 25, 2015

About Puebla Mexican Food's abrupt closure, and future at the Essex Street Market

[Photo via Edward Rivera]

By Stacie Joy

I planned to visit Puebla Mexican Food one last time to pick up a meal, take a few photos for posterity, give owner Irma Marin a hug and say thanks for the many years of good food that I’ve had at her restaurant at 47 First Ave.

However, when I arrived outside Puebla last week, I was sad to find that the place had already been shuttered days ahead of its scheduled March 23 closure. I contacted my neighbor, artist Edward Rivera, who is friendly with the Marin/Marmolejo family to ask about what happened. He was kind enough to set up a phone interview with Marin and her son Ricardo “Ricky” Marmolejo, who helped me translate back and forth from English to Spanish.

Why the early closure? They explained that they were in litigation with the landlord. The family had a landlord agreement regarding rent but they were in dispute about a water bill and other additional storefront charges. In court on March 17, the judge sided with the landlord and indicated that the marshal would be coming to evict them.

Marin decided that she did not want her customers to feel uncomfortable, so she closed up immediately. Marin's sister and brother-in-law launched the restaurant near East Third Street in 1990, with Marin taking over in 2000. (Marin's sister and brother-in-law now run Downtown Bakery II at 69 First Ave.)

While Ricky explained that his mother first decided to just close and retire, the family was touched and excited by the enormous community outreach.

Now there are plans in the works for a Puebla Mexican Food stall at the Essex Street Market.

Ricky said that his mother had appointments with community leaders to help with the paperwork.

Marin and her family have long frequented the market, so the idea, when recommended to her, made sense. And, as Marin and her family live nearby on East Second Street, the location will keep them in the area, close to their friends.

I asked Ricky to help translate his mother's words of gratitude to the neighborhood. As Ricky said, she wanted "to thank everyone, all the customers who supported her and loved her food. She wants to reopen to serve the people, and feed them. And that she looks forward to seeing everybody again."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Puebla Mexican Food is closing after 25 years on 1st Avenue

You'll now have until March 23 to visit Puebla Mexican Food on 1st Avenue

Puebla Mexican Food closes on 1st Avenue; Villacemita opens on Avenue A


Gojira said...

Anyone know what the timeline for the closing and demolition of the market is? I'd hate for her to open, only to be tossed out again after a couple of months. But good news, I'll make the trek down there to get her amazing breakfast burritos!

Philip Trevino said...

I hope it works out at the Essex Street Market! Woohoo! I too was saddened to find them closed earlier than scheduled.

I've also heard from numerous sources that the landlady is crazy. Not surprising. I bet the spaces will remain empty for some time, just like all the other empty spaces in the neighborhood.

Maybe she needs to put up signs like those that used to be in front of the building at 3rd and 2nd. "Crazy Landlord"

Anonymous said...

oh man, another good one bites the dust -- a nice little family business. Just hope Downtown Bakery stays open, another business that has been here for a long time. Good luck Mrs. Marin.

maggie.r. said...

this made me cry. Irma and Ricky have fed me for decades. When I ordered the same thing too many times, Irma chided me for not branching out ...but I was addicted to their molé and couldn't stray. I'm happy for them that they'll be at the Essex Market and happier still for all of us molé addicts.

Anonymous said...

:( Too sad. What a loss for the community.

Hey19 said...

Essex market is going to be open for a few years where it is. I spoke to an owner of a stall a few days ago. It needs some Mexican after the loss of BK Taco...