‘Gracias Mama’ Begins Build-out at 162 East Broadway as Opposition Mounts

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 at 5:13 am by
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Interior build-out just began at Gracias Mama, the controversial taqueria from the minds behind Gelso & Grand. While permits for the job were issued by the Department of Buildings last month, actual work commenced a few weeks ago. And it’s already progressing at quite a clip.

Here is a peek at the guts of 162 East Broadway, which combined both the former Chinese bakery and newsstand into the overall footprint.

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Yet, what makes this proposed establishment an enemy to many is its placement within proximity to houses of worship and above a heavily-trafficked subway station. The argument essentially revolves around the front door.

Co-owners Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos moved the entrance to Gracias Mama around the corner to the old Chinese newsstand. The change in plans was basically an effort to circumvent the 200-foot law in effect due to St. Teresa’s church at 16-18 Rutgers.

Opponents argue that a nightspot here will also exacerbate the overall congestion here. It’ll join a combined mass of humanity from the subway entrance, the busy southbound M9 bus stop, the nine intercity bus depots (legal and illegal), and all the bag-toting commuters that follow.

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Nevertheless, Community Board 3 sought fit to approve the full liquor license, but deferred to the State Liquor Authority regarding the legality of distance. The MTA, meanwhile, thinks the entrance on Rutgers Street won’t cause any crowding issues. “This is not a situation unique to this business or street or subway entrance,” the agency previously told The Villager in a statement.

A grassroots community coalition consisting of LES Dwellers, the Orchard Street Block Association, the Knickerbocker Tenants Association, and Residents of Two Bridges remains committed to fighting the application. (There is still an active petition if you’re against the spot.)

Obviously, Bakhtiar and Garos feel confident enough in scoring full liquor to proceed at such an accelerated pace.

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