There's been a troubling new development today in the ongoing saga of Stage Restaurant, the East Village old-timer currently facing eviction from its 2nd Avenue home over allegations that its owner tampered with gas lines in the building. As EV Grieve notes, owner Roman Diakun and his son Andrew posted an announcement on Facebook today that they are giving away many of the lunch counter's supplies, both to the Bowery Mission and to their neighbor across the street, B & H Dairy, which itself has been closed since the day of the East Village explosion just a few storefronts away.
From photos posted to Facebook, the stuff that they're giving away is not fresh items that might go bad, but instead shelf stable goods like canned tomatoes and dried kasha, plus paper cups and takeout containers. That's not the most optimistic approach to the situation, but down in the comments, the owners promise they're not giving up: "We just emptied the store of supplies because we don't know how much longer we will be closed for and figured we should give it to someone who needs it at the moment."
The Diakuns are currently fighting their eviction, denying that they ever illegally siphoned gas. They maintain that the landlord is "seizing on recent tragic events," (the recent building explosion) to boot the lunch counter from its home of 35 years.
Meanwhile, B & H, which is received some of those pantry goods, continues to push back its reopening date, but now says it hopes to return by next week. To help it survive the long closure, a crowdfunding campaign has already exceeded its $20,000 goal, and still has 14 days left to go.