Orchard Street Taqueria Eyes New Location as Development Looms
Get ready, folks. The northeast corner of Orchard and East Houston is about to become a construction zone for the forseeable future. Seriously, how much more fuckin’ decimation can this spot see?
The writing was on the wall well before Bereket and Philly’s Cheese Steak ceased operations at the end of June. Rumblings of impending doom have been commonplace for months. Eight restaurants and one bodega comprising this low-rise strip – not including Katz’s Deli and its gallery space – will eventually fall.
We’ve been chronicling developments here since December 2013. When our story first broke, word was that Ben Shaoul had either already purchased the properties or was looking to do so (Ray’s Pizza reportedly owns the property). Public record neither confirms nor denies his involvement, but several sources still maintain his involvement. Either way, a change of hands for 196-200 Orchard and 187-201 East Houston is most certainly happening – a contract of sale was recently drawn up for MB/REEC HOUSTON ST, LLC.
Buyouts of all the stores have allegedly been in play since springtime. However, an approximate three-month reprieve was reportedly granted to the businesses at the end of May; we’re now at the end of the grace period. That likely explains the strange appearance of two new liquor license applications for Taqueria - 121 Orchard and 79 St. Mark’s Place. After all, they gotta clear out of 198 Orchard Street so that Sledge can do the dirty work.
No one we spoke to at Taqueria would confirm who purchased the buildings or anything about the liquor license application.
And now, Katz’s Deli just sold off its air rights…