There’s some news today concerning Noah’s Ark Deli, one of the last (if not the last) full-service kosher restaurants on the Lower East Side.
The deli has operated from 399 Grand St. since 2003. It routinely closes down for the Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashana begins tonight), but there are indications the restaurant may not be reopening, at least not anytime soon. Yesterday we received a tip indicating that the staff had just been advised that Noah’s Ark would be closing indefinitely today (Wednesday) and that the business had been sold.
Last night, workers behind the service counter said the restaurant would be closed at least through Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot at the end of the month. We have emailed and called owner Noam Sokolow, who also operates delis in Teaneck, New Jersey, but so far there has been no response.
For many months, the restaurant has been listed for sale. Broker Marc Berger has been marketing it as a “highly successful kosher deli grossing approximately $1 million/year.” According to Berger’s web site, the 1700 square foot space (including a finished basement) rents for $5500/month. The asking price is $795,000. Last spring, we asked Sokolow about the listing. At the time, he told us no sale was imminent.
According to the Seward Park Cooperative, Noah Ark’s landlord, an ownership change would have to go through the board of directors. That has not occurred.
In the past, Seward Park board members have indicated that the deli has had a long history of failing to pay its rent. They have also suggested that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, advocating for Grand Street’s Orthodox community, has lobbied to keep Noah’s Ark open. There has been a push to find another kosher operator to take over the space, but given the dwindling size of the LES’s observant Jewish community, that could be a tall order.