It looks like shuttered Indian restaurant Babu Ji may be rising from its wage theft lawsuit ashes into the old All’onda space at 22 East 13th Street. An Eater tipster who lives on the street happened upon the space at an opportune moment, when a garbage bag hanging over a brand-new sign at the address fell down, revealing the words “Babu Ji” for all to see.
It’s an unexpected changeover for the space — up until very recently, Red Farm restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld was planning to take the space for a new restaurant called The Mess. The restaurant with chef Zod Arifai was completely built out and had even hired staff and hosted friends and family in February when all work came to a halt in March. Schoenfeld previously told Eater the hold-up was initially a result of issues with the Community Board, who recommended a denial of the space’s liquor license.
Schoenfeld did not immediately respond to inquiries, and Babu Ji owners Jennifer and Jessi Singh declined to comment.
Now, the front has a snazzy new black sign advertising Babu Ji that replaces the old blue one for The Mess. If Babu Ji does indeed return to New York City — it currently runs a location in San Francisco — it will be amid a pending wage theft lawsuit that shuttered the original location at 175 Avenue B.
Stay tuned for more.