[Image via Facebook]
On Friday, friends of El Maguey y La Tuna shared the news that the 15-year-old Mexican restaurant on East Houston between Attorney and Ridge will have to shut down at the end of March.
Here's part of a Facebook post from the Street Vendor Project:
We're sad to announce that El Maguey y La Tuna, a classic mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant on East Houston street, will be closing at the end of March due to ... yep, the landlord doubling the rent.
Maria Cortez and her family are considering opening a food cart to keep serving the community, and we'll be helping her as we see if anything can be done to save this EV/LES staple. Can you help?
Despite what New York City Hospitality Alliance would have you think, vendors do not drive restaurants out of business — greedy landlords (aided by city policies that encourage gentrification and allow landlords to raise rents with impunity) do! Vendors ARE mom-and-pops, and we stand with all other independent small business owners in NYC.
Cortez told the Lo-Down that the unnamed landlord is increasing the monthly rent from $7,000 to an unmanageable $14,000.
Per the Lo-Down:
Cortez told us it was difficult enough to sustain the small business before the increase. In addition to the higher rent, the property owner wants El Maguey to pay half of his property taxes.
Public records list Habibollah Ghatan of Roslyn, N.Y., as the building's owner.
[Image via Streeteasy]
The restaurant started in Williamsburg, but relocated here after a fire in 2002. According to a feature in The Villager from 2008, "Cortez, who was born and raised on the Lower East Side, said the family decided to reopen there in order to give back food and culture to the Lower East Side."