The Harry & Ida's Meat and Supply Co. wraps up four-and-a-half years of business today at 189 Avenue A at 12th Street. (Hours: 11 a.m. to ?)
Siblings Julie and Will Horowitz, who also operate Ducks Eatery on 12th Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue, announced the closure in an Instagram post earlier this month.
The general store was named for their great-grandparents Harry and Ida Zinn, Hungarian immigrants who had a store in Harlem. This shop arrived on Avenue A in June 2015, and immediately drew raves for their pastrami ...
The pastrami was one reason mentioned for the closing.
But that pastrami presents a conundrum for Horowitz, an environmentalist committed to sustainability. “We love selling pastrami because it fucking tastes delicious, and that’s where we’ve had all our accolades,” says Horowitz. But selling it in the quantities that might make for a sustainable business won’t make for a sustainable planet, he says. “We still wanna do it, we just don’t wanna make a business out of it.”
Pastrami under the Harry & Ida’s moniker will still appear as a special at Ducks, but now the chef will devote more attention to non-meat items he’s developed, like smoked carrots and a viral smoked watermelon that looks like a giant ham. “I think that’s the direction for us: Keep a small restaurant and develop more sustainable [foods].”
There were also financial considerations. In August 2018, they shuttered their offshoot Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette in the Financial District after 10 months in business.
And as I reported in October 2017, workers removed the sidewalk bridge and scaffolding from the Avenue A side of the Steiner East Village condoplex between 11th Street and 12th Street.
For 19 months, the entrance to Harry & Ida's was obscured by all this construction. In total at the time, 19 of their first 29 months in business had been under the doom and gloom of that sidewalk bridge.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Acclaimed pastrami purveyors Harry & Ida's will close this month on Avenue A