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Black Tree Reboot Raw Material Seized by City Marshal

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An inspection double whammy

black tree Paul Crispin Quitoriano

Nine lives restaurant Black Tree has seemingly ended its time on Orchard Street for good. Bowery Boogie reports that Raw Material, the restaurant that took over Black Tree’s 131 Orchard Street space last fall, was shut down by both the Health Department and the State of New York Workers’ Compensation Board last month.

Papers posted this week on the restaurant’s doors list reasons for the closure including operating without a permit, and failure to secure disability benefits for employees. On Tuesday, landlord Samy Mahfar had the space seized. Aside from being visited by two restaurant critics in one night (or the DOH and a critic in one night), this is arguably the worst luck for any restaurant. But for a restaurant with a troubled past like Black Tree, it’s salt in the wound.

Black Tree started in 2012 as a sandwich pop-up, and maintained its popularity through a transition to farm-to-table, and an opening in Williamsburg. In June 2015, the restaurant failed a visit from the DOH which cited a “severe pest infestation” and had trouble bouncing back ever since.

Now keep up: In August 2016, Black Tree co-owner and chef Sandy Dee Hall announced the LES location of Black Tree would be taking an extended break to re-vamp the concept, with a re-opening date set for December 31. Then, just two months later, Black Tree morphed into Raw Material, a brand new restaurant focused on "ethically harvested" foods. And earlier this year, the Williamsburg location also closed.

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