Cafe Mingala, the only restaurant in New York’s five boroughs dedicated to serving Burmese food, has closed its doors. The Upper East Side restaurant, at 1393 Second Ave. near 73rd Street, no longer has a working phone number and has been marked as closed on Yelp. It had been open for more than 20 years, serving traditional food from the country now known as Myanmar, according to the Times.
A restaurant closing that's legitimately sad: Cafe Mingala, nyc's only dedicated Burmese, after 20-plus years on UES. Miss it already. pic.twitter.com/7zAMNcESo6— Steve Cuozzo (@stevecuozzo) October 31, 2016
Several Burmese chefs have been cooking the food of the Southeast Asian country in New York in the last few years, including Burma Noodle Bar, Burmese Bites, and Rangoon NoodleLab. But all of them only exist as pop-ups: Burma at Sunset Park’s Industry City and Burmese Bites at the Queens International Market. Rangoon NoodleLab had a noodle pop-up at Bushwick bar Bodega — Eater critic Robert Sietsema is a fan — but now that chef Myo Moe has taken up a permanent residency at the bar, she’ll be focusing more on Asian-influenced tapas instead of traditional Burmese fare.
Burmese food has been called "the Holy Grail" of New York City dining for how rare it is to find it. Cafe Mingala, known for its tea leaf salad and old school atmosphere, was the only place that had a menu dedicated to the cuisine. In a 2015 interview with the Times, a manager said that most of the clientele were neighborhood regulars. Business had reportedly gotten better over the last few years, but despite any uptick in interest, New York’s only Burmese restaurant is no more.