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Gone but not forgotten: 2010 Restaurant Closings

SuperVegan's Presidential Debate Party at Red Bamboo Brooklyn in 2008

SuperVegan’s Presidential Debate Party at Red Bamboo Brooklyn in 2008

2010 was not only tough on the U.S. economy but also on the NYC veg restaurant scene. Some new restaurants opened last year, but in this post we’ll review all the sad (and not-so-sad) losses of 2010. Of those that closed, these are three of the biggest losses:

Red Bamboo Brooklyn
Closed in January 2010, it came as a big shock since the place generally always had a crowd. It was the lone veg restaurant in Ft. Greene in its time, and one of the few 100% vegetarian restaurants anywhere that had a large space great for a crowd along with a full bar. It held many poignant veg memories-the Satya farewell party as well as the SuperVegan-sponsored presidential debate and election night parties in 2008, and the biggest reason why it’s such a great loss? Well, because the closing seemed rather….senseless-the owners at the time cited the rising expense of soy (huh?) so the place is still a restaurant with the same owners but serves meat and retains a few of the Red Bamboo menu items.

Cosmic Cantina
Many of you may not have had the enjoyment of trying a burrito at Cosmic Cantina in the East Village. They specialized in fresh, mostly organic ingredients, served cocktails, and were open until 4am. The owner had a compassionate epiphany at the beginning of 2010 and converted the place from conventional to 100% vegetarian. With its closure in June went the only strictly veg, delicious, close to authentic Cal-Mexican place in town.

Madras Café
Last but not least, Madras Café–also in the East Village, a veg staple for 20 years. While there are many Kosher vegetarian Indian places in the city, Madras Café was a standout. They designated all the vegan items on the menu, welcomed large parties, and most importantly made a good vegan mango lassi (which can be surprisingly hard to find in this city of plentiful vegan dosa and curry offerings).

Other 2010 closures include:
24 Carrots Organic Juice Bar
Caserta Vecchia
D’Ital Shak
Eskimix
Green Melody
Ghenet Ethiopian (Manhattan)
Karen’s On Astor
Little Buddy Biscuit Company
The Lucky Cat
Quantum Leap (Queens)
Rice-Lexington Ave
SproutCraft Cafe
SuRa
Victory Bhavan

Closed but replaced by other veg establishments:
Blossom Bistro (replaced by V-Note )
Organic Heights replaced by Sun in Bloom
Tamilnadu Bhavan (replaced previous veg Indian restaurant Saravana Bhavan Dosa Hut and rest assured the location still has a veg Indian restaurant by the name of Bhojan

While not exactly gone, these restaurants went from 100% veg to serving meat but still retain some vegan options, alas they are added to the mourning list too:
Chennai (UES)
Dang Lai Palace
Hummus Kitchen(UES)

Benny’s Pizzeria no longer has vegan pizza options-all crusts have butter in them and overall the place is no longer very vegan friendly.

Last call, Counter is preparing to shutter it’s doors in February 2011 so be sure to get in one last trip.

Be sure to visit The Graveyard and share your memories of your now closed favorite veg restaurants.

What places closed this year that you miss the most? Which will you miss the least? Did we miss any in our list? Tell us about it below!

5 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Lilithdesade

    on #

    What?! Counter?! Although pretty pricey, I did enjoy going there ever so infrequently for a fancy night out.

    And Madras! I can’t tell you how many times I walked down second avenue saying ‘I swear it was right here’ to whoever my company was at the time. Now I now; it aint’ there!

  2. Comment by

    elainevigneault

    on #

    It’s really a shame about Red Bamboo Brooklyn. It was basically the only vegan place where you could bring your dog, sit outside, and not have your dog trampled upon by passersby who aren’t looking where they’re going.

  3. Comment by

    tofu_hunter

    on #

    I’m really bummed Counter is closing. It was pretty much the only place I could go for a nice brunch with my non-vegan friends where a) everyone liked their food and b) there was decent ambiance. However, I hear tell that Counter’s soon-to-be-former owner is helping head chef Elena Balletta open a new vegetarian restaurant in Brooklyn, so all is not lost! They are also running some nice “goodbye” specials.

  4. Comment by

    food!

    on #

    I miss Madras Cafe most of all. Their dosas was supreme. And the staff treated you like family.

  5. Comment by

    NotBuyingIt!

    on #

    Did anyone notice Village Mingala closed…I never thought they would ever close – they had been there on 7th Street for so long. They had a great vegan selection, amazing service, delicious food and were the only Burmese restaurant in town! What a loss! I think they have another restaurant on the UES, but not certain.

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