Anyone who required further evidence of the relentless changes transforming New York City need only visit the East Village. Kurowycky, a Ukrainian butcher that was a neighborhood fixture for half a century, closed June 2, a victim of changing demographics and tastes. “The older generation of customers is dying off,” KRS observes. “A Kurowycky ham is now a holiday special rather than something you have every day or two.” The owner says he will open a mail-order business. In the meantime, lovers of kielbasy, kabanosy, and other meat delicacies might check out nearby J. Baczynsky’s.
Another cruel blow for lovers of Eastern European chow was the abrupt demise of Teresa’s, a Polish diner that went under May 31 after 22 years in business. Longtime regular Pan offers an elegy: “No more of your soup, no orders of pierogis to take out / The chicken stew lunch special is unavailable / The luxuriant babka French toast, past / For all the times you delivered a quart of chicken soup like my father’s, / The times I read a newspaper in your living room, / All the people I met between your walls, / The sentimental painting of Warsaw, / And the time when you spilled water on my pants, too – / All are but a memory.” Survivors include a sister restaurant in Brooklyn.
Chelsea hounds are also in mourning. A steep rent increase led to the closure this month of Bright Food Shop, the Mexican fusion restaurant on Eighth Avenue, and Kitchen/Market, the grocery and burrito joint next door. “Sad day,” notes bill_p, who is scrambling to find another dependable source for spices, sauces, and dried chiles and beans. The owner hopes to resume making burritos inside another store in the neighborhood, so watch for updates.
A block south, Havana Chelsea is also history. It’s rumored to be looking for a new location, but at least for now its Cuban sandwiches, roast pork, deeply flavorful beans and rice, and other homey fare will be missed. “Awful news. Where will I get my ropa vieja on Fridays?” wonders KTinNYC.
East Village Meat Market and Deli, a.k.a. J. Baczynsky’s [East Village]
139 Second Avenue (between E. Ninth Street and St. Marks Place), Manhattan
Teresa’s [Brooklyn Heights]
80 Montague Street (near Hicks), Brooklyn