Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Lower East Side mainstay El Sombrero has closed

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

El Sombrero, aka the Hat, which has anchored the corner of Ludlow and Stanton Street for decades, will not be reopening. 

Paper has covered the front windows here, leading to speculation about the Mexican restaurant's future. 

Owners Junior and Judy Almonte, seen here on Monday, confirmed the closure to EVG correspondent Stacie Joy...
Pandemic aside, Junior cited the rising food costs and challenges of hiring staff as well as some personal health concerns as the reasons behind the decision to close. 

Distance was also an issue, as the couple, who have four children, now live in New Jersey.

While the restaurant is closing, the Almontes said that they may reopen in another location at some point. Meanwhile, Junior said that they were selling items and supplies from the restaurant. (Interested parties can contact them via social media.)
El Sombrero first opened in 1984, and was known for cheap eats and potent margaritas, which for a time, were available to go. 

With business in decline, the restaurant closed in March 2014 ... Junior, related to the original owners, refurbished the space and reopened it in November 2014
Given this high-profile LES corner, it's hard to imagine the space staying vacant for long. Artichoke Basille's Pizza was a 2014 suitor, though those plans never materialized.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Celebrated a friend's birthday there on my second visit to NYC in 1990. Best wishes to the owners and thanks for the margarita-impaired memories.

Anonymous said...

We take so much for granted: the hat was one.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day we'd get frozen margaritas 🍹 to go then head to the Grand Street theater for a movie.
-IzF

Anonymous said...

Better not become a smoke shop

Anonymous said...

Sad to see 🌞 Wish them the best!

Shazziz said...

I remember when The Hat (aka: El Sombrero) was the ONLY place to eat on the LES. This was back in the day when we did theatre in storefronts and if you were late to a show, you had to cross the stage to get to the house seats. RIP El Sombrero. I got drunk in you many, many, oh so many times in the 90s. ❤

Anonymous said...

WOW! The hazy memories created with the help of El Sombrero's frozen margaritas in the 1990s are all but gone. Such an iconic part of my coming of age self as I stumbled around Ludlow with friends and lovers. It was a beautiful time and I'm happy for those of us who still live, and I miss those we've lost.

Steve L said...

The start to so many wild, fun nights when I lived there in the early '00s. And those potent carry-out 'slushees', oh my goodness.

Anonymous said...

I meet my current spouse there when we started dating this was the first spot we visited and then we continued after for birthdays and couple outings we brought our daughters their. Will be missed dearly thank you for the memories. Again New York continues to loose

Anonymous said...

I never call it Hat, always said El sombrero, only transplants and gringos, said hat. El sombrero was always a solid choice for my last meal, after a drinking session, during our LES/village romps, the food and margaritas was always a crowd pleaser, just don’t call, it hat, it’s The Hat. Sad to not see it there any longer, it’s my institution.

Anonymous said...

1999, many times, many musicians.

DRoss171 said...

Frozen Margaritas to go, hanging on the corner, then hitting the fish was a perfect way to start the night in the early 2000s. Will miss The Hat.