Looking Inside ‘JaJaJa,’ the Vegan Mexican Restaurant at 162 East Broadway

Posted on: April 13th, 2017 at 5:05 am by

jajaja-3

Hold onto your sombreros, JaJaJa is on the proverbial precipice of opening at 162 East Broadway.

JaJaJa (Plantas Mexicana) is a vegan Mexican restaurant helmed by Gelso & Grand proprietor Nima Garos and partner Koorosh Bakhtiar. The concept has been in the works for more than a year, and evolved along the way. For one, the establishment previously went by “Gracias Mama,” and also, the menu wasn’t always strictly vegan.

Meanwhile, the wooden blinds are now twisted open during daytime hours, just enough to view the completed cantina. Porters cleaning the premises this week tell us that opening should be “next month.” By the sight of things, it could come sooner.

Jajaja-1

Jajaja was not forged without controversy, though. Bakhtiar and Garos caused quite a stir from the outset (when it was still Gracias Mama) having dispensed with two long-running Chinese businesses in its commercial space. The application became a skirmish over gentrification, with 162 East Broadway ground zero in the fight between Chinatown, the upper-crust Lower East Side, and the block associations representing each. Much of the opposition arguments centered around the front door above the East Broadway subway station, so placed to skirt the 200-foot law in relation to St. Teresa’s church.

Jajaja-2

Recent Stories

Cactus Store Resumes Summertime Residency on Essex Street

The Cactus Store returned to the Lower East Side this weekend for its fourth seasonal outing, and first since coronavirus ruined everything. As before, the succulents sellers plant annual roots in the lot at 5 Essex Street. Infrastructure from prior years remains in place. Saturday was opening day. The Cactus Store is a product of […]

Ludlow Street Pizzeria Hits the Open Market

La Margarita Pizza might not have much time left in Hell Square. The Ludlow Street pizzeria is now pitched on the open market. The 800 square-foot store at 268 Ludlow appeared on Craigslist in late-May for $9,000 per month in rent. The listing caps some eight years in business for the Lower East Side pizza […]

Everynight Charley Checkup: Vilray at Rockwood Music Hall

What follows is the beginning of a periodic checkup of the downtown music scene with Everynight Charley Crespo, prolific Editor of The Manhattan Beat. The vocalist, guitarist and songwriter known simply as Vilray (pronounced vill-ree) has an uncanny ability to bridge past and present. Vilray, who does not use his family name, was raised in […]

Mictlan Mexico Brings Orchard Street South of the Border

There is a new taqueria on the Lower East Side. Natalin Perez, who currently operates Haab out in Brooklyn, just lifted the curtains on her new project. The fifteen-table restaurant at 17 Orchard Street, Mictlan Mexico. It takes the reins from the Fat Radish, which spent ten years serving the neighborhood before the pandemic chased […]

The Menace of Summertime Saturday Night on Ludlow Street

With comfort levels of close-quarters partying seemingly back to pre-pandemic norms, Hell Square has rebounded in kind. Neighbors report that any quality-of-life progress gained in this sixteen square-block sector over the last few years completely evaporated. The hordes of hellraisers were out in full force again this past Saturday night. One week after a roving […]