Here's another address to add to the rundown of empty storefronts on Avenue B. As previously noted, Donostia, the wine-and-tapas bar at 155 Avenue B between Ninth Street and 10th Street, had been closed since late November.
There's now a for-lease sign in the front window (and both Google and Yelp list the cafe as permanently closed) ...
According to the online listing, the rent is $3,824 per month, though there is key money — $175,000 "or best offer."
Donostia opened in November 2013. In 2017, Food & Wine named them one of "The Best Wine Bars In the U.S." This past October, Michelin named Donostia as one of its Bib Gourmand-designated restaurants for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2017, co-owner Jorge de Yarza reportedly decided to lobby for developer Gregg Singer, who has been trying, for 20-plus years, to covert the former P.S. 64 building around the corner on 10th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C into student housing. DNAinfo reported that de Yarza helped gather nearly 900 signatures in support of the dorm plan, asking the city to allow it to move forward.
The massive building's prolonged vacancy has made the block dark and unsafe, and has encouraged loitering, de Yarza added.
"All the places in the immediate area, they suffer," he said. "It's one of those stretches of 10th Street you don't even want to walk by, and it's a shame."
According to a post at the Lo-Down from September 2017, de Yarza also helped Singer support candidates running against Carlina Rivera in the most recent District 2 City Council race. Rivera, who won the election, is an ally of previous Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who has long opposed the dorm plan.
In November 2017, de Yarza helped organize a pro-dorm rally at City Hall, an event where a lobbyist later admitted they hired extras to fill out the group, The Villager reported.