The impact of the devastating 2nd Avenue fire — that destroyed three buildings, claimed two lives, and shuttered several businesses — is still felt profoundly by three New York institutions: B & H Dairy, Stage restaurant, and Pommes Frites. All three have been closed since the March 26 fire and are struggling with different hurdles to make a comeback. Their absence was felt particularly strongly last week, during Cheap Eats Week, so Eater wanted to see how plans for reopening are coming. Here's the latest:
Pommes Frites, which was in one of the buildings that collapsed from the fire, is set to reopen in Greenwich Village on Macdougal Street, hopefully by October, but the team is still in need of funds to make that happen. Owners Omer Shorshi and Suzanne Levinson are asking friends and the many fans of the fry shop to help pitch in $64,000 to purchase new fryers, refrigerators, and other equipment. So far, 583 have donated a total of $19,716, with another 26 days left for the campaign. Most backers have put down $6, which will give them a voucher for their first order of fries with one sauce. According to a Facebook post, the next chunk of donations will go toward the fryers:
Legendary lunch counter B&H, has also had a rough time. Owners Fawzy Abdelwahed and Ola Smigielska, whose space wasn't damaged by the fire, have struggled to reopen their 73-year-old cafe because of safety regulations imposed by the city after the explosion. The team was required to install an expensive new sprinkler system before getting the signoff from the city to reopen — and, once the system was installed, Abdelwahed struggled to get inspectors to come see the space. However, neighbor Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's No. 43 sends word today that inspectors are finally arriving and the restaurant could open in as little as 7 to 10 days, but the official opening date is still very much "TBD."
Meanwhile, the situation across the street, at Stage, another great, classic lunch counter is more dire. Owner Roman Diakun is still fighting an eviction notice from his landlords that came after the fire, when the landlord accused Diakun of siphoning gas and working on gas lines without a permit. A crowd-funding campaign raised $10,000 towards the legal battle, but Diakun has remained silent about how it is going.
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