Gracias Mama will Probably Open on East Broadway by December
If you’re keeping tabs at 162 East Broadway, then you’ve likely witnessed the fast-tracked build-out happening. Gracias Mama is well on its way after just over a month of construction, community opposition notwithstanding. The interior now sports some serious definition, including kitchen and bar.
Its presence on the corner of Rutgers Street was pretty much made official within the last couple weeks, when crews installed the venting and exhaust infrastructure.
To that end, we are hearing word from the construction site that the bar-restaurant should be open by the end of the month or early December.
Gracias Mama is not without controversy, though. 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 in an effort to circumvent the 200-foot law in effect due to St. Teresa’s church at 16-18 Rutgers. Opponents led by LES Dwellers and the Orchard Street Block Association argue that an entrance above the East Broadway subway stop will also exacerbate the overall congestion here. Customer traffic here will join a combined mass of humanity from the subway, the busy southbound M9 bus stop, the nine intercity bus depots (legal and illegal), and all the bag-toting commuters that follow.
However, the MTA didn’t feel that the new access point on Rutgers Street was anything to worry about. “This is not a situation unique to this business or street or subway entrance,” the agency intimated over the summer.
Nevertheless, Community Board 3 sought fit to approve the full liquor license, and the State Liquor Authority reportedly granted a conditional letter of approval. That was enough ammo to proceed, it seems.