200 Foot Drama: ‘Gracias Mama’ Revises its Concept for 162 East Broadway

Posted on: June 2nd, 2016 at 5:00 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Gracias Mama, the Mexican establishment gunning for the corner of Rutgers and East Broadway, is facing more of an uphill battle than principals Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos (Gelso & Grand) probably anticipated. Even though Community Board 3 approved a full liquor license for this previously unlicensed location (controversial in its own right), the recommendation hinges on the state’s review of the proximity to the Church of St. Teresa.

In other words, the application is subject to the “200-foot Rule.” That would explain the re-appearance of Gracias Mama on this month’s SLA subcommittee agenda. Ownership is now applying to relocate the entrance and remove bar stools from the floor. The former change being the most telling, however.

Moving the front door closer to the subway entrance – the old Chinese newsstand – is basically an admission that the establishment sits within 200 feet of the church. It’s a sly maneuver to escape the additional scrutiny, but one that will create more discussion about the dangers of crowding in this spot. Their action could also explain why the team reportedly has not yet submitted the application to the State Liquor Authority for 162 East Broadway.

This image has been archived or removed.

(It’s unclear whether a takeout window is still part of the plan now.)

Adding fuel to the controversy is the general displacement of a longtime Chinese bakery serving locals so that a trendy place can cater to the well-to-do. As previously reported, Gracias Mama wasn’t just a replacement venture taking over a vacated space. 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.

This image has been archived or removed.

Recent Stories

Tough Slog for ABC No Rio and its Passive House on Rivington Street

The redevelopment of ABC No Rio into an environmentally friendly passive house is again dogged by delays. In an appeal for donations on Giving Tuesday this month, ABC No Rio director Steve Englander provided an update on status of the new development. Another setback; this time it’s the necessary redesign of the foundation and plans […]

International Center of Photography Readies January Reopening at Essex Crossing with Ginormous Photo Display

Another big-box occupant at Essex Crossing goes live in just a few weeks. In January 2020, the International Center of Photography will unveil its “new, fully integrated” facility at 242 Broome Street. A ginormous, three-story photograph is currently hanging in the windows facing Essex Street as teaser ahead of launch. Shot by school alum Rochelle Brock, […]

Services Now Offered to Chinatown Seniors at Confucius Plaza

A new retirement community program is headed to Confucius Plaza on the Bowery. Earlier this week, Councilwoman Margaret Chin joined Confucius Plaza Management, Hamilton-Madison House staff, and local seniors at the 44-year-old complex to unveil the new Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) entity. The facility is aptly named The Joy Peace Center, and offers social […]

At 60% Occupancy, 196 Orchard Taps LES Gallerist for Revolving Lobby Art

The synergy between high-end condos and galleries is on full display at Ben Shaoul’s Lower East Side condoplex. It is here, in the lobby of 196 Orchard Street, that local gallerist Lesley Heller has been tapped to curate a revolving placement of art. The residency began this week. Heller – who runs her eponymous showroom […]

Sunshine Cinema Office Development Hit with Stop-Work Order over Excavation

The city halted construction on the commercial office development set to replace the former Sunshine Cinema. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Department of Buildings deployed inspectors to the project site and subsequently issued a full stop-work order due to excavation activities. Public records show that “foundation work with excavators” caused “structural cracks” in both the […]