The Lucky Bee is Closing After a Year-and-a-Half on Broome Street (Updated)

Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett of the Lucky Bee. Photo from the restaurant's Instagram.

Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett of the Lucky Bee. Photo from the restaurant’s Instagram.

After only a year-and-a-half in business, The Lucky Bee is closing.

Co-owner Rupert Noffs tells us that he and partner Matty Bennett made the decision to shutter their Southeast Asian restaurant at 252 Broome St. because, “We simply can’t afford the rent.” Noffs said they plan to operate for as “long as possible,” adding, “I guess this is our Closing Down Sale!”

He said the search has begun for another location. “We have some strong interest and people who really believe in us and what we do,” said Noffs. “All we ever wanted to do was give New Yorkers delicious, seasonal Southeast Food and incredible cocktails in a fun setting and we will continue with that vision.”

Bennett, formerly of the Fat Radish, won praise for his farm-to-table version of Thai Street food, and the restaurant’s hot pink decor and festive atmosphere attracted early attention to the 50 seat restaurant.

It was a tumultuous, if short, run on the Lower East Side. The Lucky Bee opened in January 2016 in the former home of Jin Sushi, a longtime neighborhood restaurant. During the first three months, Bennett served a limited menu because Con Ed and the Fire Department had not cleared the business to use cooking gas.

Then in June of this year, Noffs and Bennett were evicted for non-payment of rent and the restaurant was closed down for several days. Property owners Michael Forrest and Samy Mahfar allowed them to reopen while tenant and landlords worked out a payment plan. In an interview yesterday, Forrest said, “While we were trying to work out a rent reduction, it became apparent that the restaurant could not pay even the minimum amount that (the owners) said they could handle.” The lease signed by Noffs and Bennett required them to pay $21,000/month, which included property taxes. “We were willing to negotiate,” said Forrest. “We wanted to see them succeed.”

The Lucky Bee will be charging happy hour prices on all drinks until they close. A closing date has not been determined.

UPDATED 12:40 p.m. After this story was published, Rupert Noffs emailed us, reacting to Forrest’s comments regarding the Broome Street lease situation. According to Noffs, the property owners were unwilling to negotiate, refused to budge on the rent and demanded another $60,000 in additional security. Noffs said, “We simply could not run our business, think of creative new ideas, recipes and train new staff with these guys on our backs sending eviction notices – without a sealed envelope – once a month.”

This story will be updated if Forrest has any more to add on the topic.

LES Food Roundup: Pickle Guys on the Move, Lucky Bee Brunch, Rabbit House Praise

The Pickle Guys, 357 Grand St.

The Pickle Guys, 357 Grand St.

Here’s what’s new on the Lower East Side restaurant/food scene as we kick off 2017:

–The Pickle Guys made the move across Essex St. just before the holiday. The prime corner spot at 357 Grand St. is fairly bare bones at the moment. There’s not much in the space other than those big pickle barrels you were used to seeing at 49 Essex St. A grand opening celebration will come later and a small restaurant is in-the-works. The restaurant will be a counter service operation featured fried pickles. According to Eater: “Burgers, chicken sliders, and beef sliders will also likely be on the menu.” There will be some limited seating. An April opening is anticipated.

The Lucky Bee has been open for almost a year on Broome Street. The Southeast Asian restaurant is celebrating the new year with weekend brunch service beginning this coming Saturday. Chef Matty Bennett says the brunch menu will be all about serving “perfect hangover food.” There will be a chicken burger with Sriracha mayo, daikon and cabbage slaw; steamed pork and sesame dumplings; and “Son-in-law Eggs,” made with avocado, fried chili, sweet fish sauce, Thai basil and fried shallot. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

At Eastwood , they’re getting ready for the fourth annual Burns supper Jan. 25. There’s a three-course meal plus live music and poetry. $50.

–Community Board 3 will meet Jan. 9 to review new liquor permit applications. Among the proposals that caught our eye: A new team looks to open a place called Bowery Craft House, at 293 East Houston St. (that’s where Ariel’s Latin Bistro is currently located). See the full agenda here.

The New Yorker checks out Rabbit House, an “exquisite wisp of a sake bar” on Forysth Street.

The Lucky Bee Opens January 21; Here’s the Menu

Inside The Lucky Bee. Image from the restaurant's social media channels.

Inside The Lucky Bee. Image from the restaurant’s social media channels.

The Lucky Bee, a new South Asian restaurant at 252 Broome St. (at Ludlow Street), will open on January 21, a week from Thursday. The announcement was made by partners Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett yesterday.

Bennett was most recently in the kitchen at the Fat Radish on Orchard Street. In the new spot, he’s bringing a “farm-to-table approach to Thai street food.” Con Ed hasn’t turned on the gas just yet, but the team is not waiting around for that to happen. See below for an opening menu that will offer guests a good taste of the full “Lucky Bee” experience. Large bowls include red curry of king prawns with apple eggplant, roasted bell pepper and Thai basil. Among the smaller plates are: oysters with Nahm Jim Chili sauce, tuna tartare and a green papaya salad. There’s a full bar with cocktails made from honey. $1 from each drink goes to the New York City Beekeepers Association.

The restaurant opens on the 21st at 5:30 p.m.


Two Aussies Plan to Open the Lucky Bee at 252 Broome St.