Seward Park Co-op Moves to Evict Kosher Pizzeria; Owner Vows to Stay
Shalom Chai at 357 Grand St., the last sit-down kosher restaurant on the LES, may be locked out on Wednesday.
The board of the Seward Park Co-op, which owns the building, is seeking court action to evict Shalom Chai for failure to pay rent. Paperwork appeared on the door Friday afternoon giving restaurant owner David Tgar six days to vacate the premises. We spoke with Davatgar yesterday afternoon, while the restaurant was open and serving customers. Tgar said he’d paid his rent bill late last week, but the $5,700 check bounced due to insufficient funds. He then displayed a deposit receipt showing he’d subsequently covered the check, and insisted he is now current on his rent. He was no longer under the threat of eviction, he said. This morning, however, Seward Park officials say they are moving ahead with the court proceedings.
“The tenant has been chronically in arrears and is now in violation of a court ordered stipulation which was negotiated between our counsel and Shalom Chai’s counsel,” she said in an email. “As a result of their failure to make their agreed upon payments, we have been compelled to enforce the terms of the agreement.” Shalom Chai has struggled in recent years, as its core group of customers has dwindled in the neighborhood. The restaurant has also run into repeated trouble with the city’s health department over sanitary issues. Last spring, Shalom Chai was closed for almost six weeks after inspectors cited numerous violations during multiple inspections. Shalom Chai currently has a B grade from the health department. This weekend’s developments are just the latest in a recent string of changes to kosher eateries on Grand Street. The kosher bakery next door closed in March 2013. The Noah’s Ark Deli on the next block, at 399 Grand St., was evicted in October; a non-kosher diner is moving into that space later this year.