El Sombrero at Ludlow and Stanton on Its “Last Legs”

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 at 8:11 am by

el sombrero stanton

Will the sour news never end? Today brings word that El Sombrero, colloquially referred to as “The Hat,” is likely on its “last legs.” Apparently 2012 was a terrible year for the affordable Mexican restaurant at 108 Stanton Street.

Jeremiah over at Vanishing New York hears word that the thirty-year-old hang at the corner of Ludlow is steadily losing regular customers due to the ever-increasing rents in the neighborhood. The slight silver lining is that there’s still a few years left on the lease. Regina Bartkoff, actress and a waitress at The Hat since 1988, said the following:

They are not closing yet! They are trying to stay open! The rent has been steadily going up and they have a lease for a few more years, but in 2012 we took a nose dive. We have been losing our regular customers steadily, due to them not being able to pay the rents on the LES and being forced out. It just keeps going down.

Most Mexican restaurants on the LES are very chic now with a smorgasbord of a million kinds of tequila and fancy appetizers. El Sombrero was famous for their frozen large pints of margaritas that packed a wallop. They are still $8. A big burrito with rice and beans, heavy with cheese is still $9. It was cheap and you could get wasted quick. We waitresses were never told to sell anything and we never hurried anybody out, even if people were lined up and waiting outside. Everybody was relaxed. The waitresses would dance with the customers at any given moment (to the annoyance of some tables waiting for their orders). Working class, artists, gang bangers, and their families mixed together. Writers would write there. Actors and directors met and worked on their plays. I put everybody’s posters on the windows and walls. I gave out cards to my shows and got asked into shows all the time.

Read the full report over here.

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  • david

    As great a dive joint it is/was and sentimental feelings aside, the place is damn awful food and service wise. Hubris. I have many fond memories of going here, but the last few times I went it was horrible.


      Guess you prefer burger king?

  • Have always loved this place and only a snobbish yuppie would refer to it as a dive joint.It is that attitude that is driving a lot of the longtime establishments out of the neighborhood!