The upscale Mexican spot at the corner of East Broadway and Essex streets will make its debut this week. Jajaja, a “plant-based” restaurant with a full bar, opens at 162 East Broadway on Friday. Just yesterday, signage went up just above the F Train stairwell, announcing the cantina’s arrival in the former home of a Chinese bakery and newsstand.
According to the Facebook invite, “Jajaja is a hybrid venture that caters to the unique way New Yorkers eat, meet, and share.” The restaurant is owned by Nima Garos (of the Little Italy restaurant Gelso & Grand) and Koorosh Bakhtiar. They’re touting the new spot as a place where, “south of the border flavor meets Lower East Side flair to create global experiences rooted in local heritage.” There’s an, “extensive Tequila and Mezcal program, traditional Mexican beers on tap, Mexican-style lagers and pilsners from local microbreweries, fresh pressed juices, and plant based Mexican fare…”
A year ago at this time, the owners tangled with local residents at meetings of Community Board 3. Some Chinatown activists tried unsuccessfully to derail the liquor application, arguing that the entrance to the restaurant was less than 200 feet from St. Teresa’s Church (and therefore in violation of state law).