Updated: See the comments for more from Zach the owner.
The Japanese health-food cafe AO Bowl has closed at 82 St. Mark's Place on the southwest corner of First Avenue.
The quick-serve establishment, which offered a variety of bowls, smoothies and juices, opened in early 2021 (after a few delays).
In a goodbye letter left on the door for patrons, ownership puts the blame on Sen. Charles Schumer...
Sen. Schumer stabbed us in the back after first promising and then failing to replenish the SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). This would have reimbursed us for costs we had to bear from the government-mandated closures. Many large restaurant chains got millions from the RRF while small businesses like us got nothing, even after being approved...Over the last year of hanging on, Sen. Schumer continues to use as as a bargaining chip and recently attempted to kill RRF replishment by taking it out of the budget to secure other projects. Small businesses and restaurants should not be political pawns. Business owners should not have to incur tons of debt and get thrown into bankruptcy territory because of government negligence and mismangement.
You can read the latest on the RRF funds here.
We first mentioned AO's arrival in July 2019 (previously going asEiyō Bowl). The AO Instagram account listed an October 2020 opening, though that was pushed back several months. According to an announcement about AO, this was the "first-ever cafe in the U.S. to use vacuum blenders to create vacuum-pressed smoothies and juice on premise."