In the past few days, Brooklyn Taco shut down operations in the Essex Street Market. On the chalkboard usually used to write the daily menu, there’s a message that reads:
We thank our loyal customers for their support. We had a great run and met so many interesting and amazing people. You can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will miss you all!
Brooklyn Taco came to the market in 2011 after a successful run at the Hester Street Fair. The business is co-owned by Jesse Kramer and Erica Molina. Last summer, Kramer told us they were seeing a slump in business and he expressed frustration with the management of the market by the city’s Economic Development Corp. We don’t know what led to the closure, but are attempting to contact the owners for more details.
UPDATE 3:47 p.m. We just heard back from Jesse Kramer, who told us that the management issues at the market did, in fact, cause the closure of Brooklyn Taco. While the market is staying open during the next three years as a new facility is built as part of the Essex Crossing project, Kramer felt that the current building had become intolerably run down. In order to survive, he said Brooklyn Taco needed a better communal seating area and later hours to accommodate dinner-time customers. We’ll be hearing more from Jesse later and we’re also reaching out to the EDC.
UPDATE Feb. 10, 8:07 a.m. We have a response from the Economic Development Corp. A spokesperson said:
We strive to cultivate a vibrant, inclusive and healthy market environment at Essex Street Market, and in addition to providing below market-rate space, we work closely with all our vendors to help address the unique challenges that face local market vendors in New York City.
EDC officials obviously disagree with the contention that the market in general and the relationship with Brooklyn Taco, specifically, have been mismanaged. During the three years that the vendor operated from the market, they said, repeated efforts were made to assist the business and to accommodate its needs. The spokesperson indicated that improvements were made in the market’s infrastructure to address Brooklyn Taco’s customized equipment and electrical requirements. The spokesperson added that a lot of factors are involved in a business making the decision to close its doors. The EDC called Brooklyn Taco’s closure unfortunate and management wished them well, while stating that it’s looking forward to welcoming a replacement vendor in the months to come.