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.

Shalom Chai was open for business as usual Monday, but perhaps not for much longer.

Shalom Chai was open for business as usual Monday, but perhaps not for much longer.

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.

“They just stopped paying their rent completely for a while,” General Manager Frank Durant wrote in an email. “We attempted to get them to pay many times and after many promises of payment, they did not fulfill their obligations of the lease or stipulation they signed. They have let the entire community down and left the co-op no other choice.”
Co-op board president Kate Nammacher said the court action is the result of a long legal saga.

“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.

11 comments to Seward Park Co-op Moves to Evict Kosher Pizzeria; Owner Vows to Stay

  • oh well

    time to go buddy…

  • Party Time!

    Sad. Its been there at least 20 years. (Does anyone reading this know exactly when they first opened there doors?)

  • Enid

    Yes, time to go and update this neighborhood already.

  • LES AYM

    Perhaps as a last resort…they can switch to a smaller store. Right now they have a double sized storefront.
    I know that some people (including me) would like to go in there just to get a quick inexpensive slice of pizza, or “breakfast special” on the run. But since the city raised the meter prices, It’s now crazy. its 50 cents for 10 minutes if you want to go in for 20-30 minutes the parking adds 1.50 to your quick bite of food. The city ‘s strange pricings. They seem too think that everything below 96th street should be priced the same even though this is not the Midtown business district and primarily residential!

  • deliQueen

    Seward Park needs to get on board with dining trends – read the NYT- old is new – why are 3 kosher stores kicked out in a year? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/dining/everything-new-is-old-again.html

  • Micah

    I’m not sure what the third store was that you say was kicked out, but Noah’s Ark and Shalom Chai both failed to pay their rent.

    I’m sure if Gefilteria or Black Seed Bagels or Russ & Daughters Cafe fail to pay their rent, they’ll get kicked out by their landlords, too.

  • Andie

    I would never eat/order
    from there. Good riddance.

  • Sabina

    I think the 3rd place must be the kosher bakery that turned into Pet Island.

    When the Comfort Diner got Noah’s Ark space, wasn’t there some mention that Holy Schnitzel (?) might move into some other space that was going to open up in the future? Maybe that’s this space.

  • Joe Ha Yeah

    Wanna stay…pay your rent…otherwise…adios and vaya con dios…

  • Micah

    Ah yes. I don’t think East Broadway Bakery was kicked out per se, although I guess you could say that being unable to afford a lease renewal is a form of getting kicked out.

  • CallMeHaze

    They should open a 24 hour laundromat here :)