B & H Dairy, the classic kosher dairy restaurant on 2nd Avenue, is one of the last businesses to remain closed after the devastating East Village building explosion late last month. By now most of its neighbors, including Paul's Da Burger joint right next door, are back up and running, but B & H's owners weren't even sure when it would be able to reopen until yesterday, when they announced on Facebook that they hope to be back in business by Wednesday. The Health Department apparently inspected and signed off on Friday, and now the restaurant is just waiting for its gas to be turned on.
As Bedford + Bowery describes, the closure has not been easy on the 73-year-old lunch counter. Owner Fawzy Abdelwahad, who has owned the business for the last 13 years, says his expenses run anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a month, and he has no cushion to fall back on if he's not bringing in money for a long stretch of time. A closure longer than three weeks could mean the end of things, so opening by Wednesday will be vital to its survival. Abdelwahad is purportedly not planning any sort of fundraising campaigns, online or otherwise, so it will be especially crucial for B & H lovers to turn out for lunch in the coming weeks. The Department of Small Business Services has also contacted Abdelwahad to offer help, and the city has offered him loans, though he tells Bedford + Bowery he may need more than that. Keep on eye on B & H's Facebook page for updates, and consider stopping by for a grilled cheese when it does finally return.