Co-Owner of Gelso & Grand Purchased 162 East Broadway for $6.6M Ahead of ‘Gracias Mama’ Restaurant

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 at 9:28 am by
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One small block of Rutgers Street is changing almost overnight, with two new restaurants replacing longtime Chinese businesses. One a bit more controversial than the other.

We’ll address the elephant in the room.

Gracias Mama wasn’t just a replacement venture taking over a vacated space. No, no. One of the backers in sister restaurant Gelso & Grand – Hassan Gholizadeh – purchased the building last December for $6.6 million, according to city records. That explains the sudden exodus of the commercial occupants last year. The decades-running Chinese newsstand and the New Golden Carriage Bakery that shared the premises were quickly disposed of, as both reportedly operated on month-to-month leases.

Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos (who’s a partner with Gholizadeh in Gelso & Grand) are now one step closer to adding Gracias Mama to this fresh acquisition. The SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3 was cool with the full liquor license, albeit with tighter stipulations negotiated with the SPaCE Block Association. Despite the heavily Chinese ethnic nature of the long block between Rutgers and Pike Streets, the location of a Buddhist temple next door, a Yeshiva across the street, and the St. Teresa’s church within two hundred feet, the application was pushed through.

As previously reported, Gracias Mama will be an “accessible” taco stand with affordable price points serving three square meals daily. There will be 34 seats, including 10 fixed bar-stools that encourage luncheonette-style dining. The former newsstand is becoming a takeout window which has the potential to attract congestion at the subway entrace here.

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This applicant is a catalyst in the battle between local block associations at loggerheads: Orchard Street Block Association and Two Bridges Tenants Association (with LES Dwellers) against SPaCE. The former had conducted loads of outreach and research, garnering opposition to the applicant. However, the latter won out with CB3 agreeing to accommodate the memorandum of understanding for full liquor, with hours of operation from 7am through midnight during the week/1am weekends.

The full board still must vote on the matter later tonight, and same with the State Liquor Authority. So, this fight could drag on…

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