East Village specialty-foods store and paczki destination Polish G.I. Delicatessen is closing after more than two decades in the neighborhood. David Iwuc tells Eater that the shop at 109 1st Avenue will shutter at the end of the month.
He declined to say why he and chef Grace Iwuc made the decision, but he noted that they plan to take a two month vacation and hope to reopen in a new location. They have not yet found a space. “Nothing is sure, but we’ll see what happens,” he says.
The Eastern European grocery store and restaurant opened in 1996 in a part of the neighborhood that was once flush with Polish businesses. Since then, many have closed, making Polish G.I. one of the last in the area. The small kitchen in the back became a destination for affordable eats, particularly for Grace Iwuc’s paczkis, borscht, kielbasa, and blintzes. The front of the shop has always been a grocery filled with Polish goods.
According to a real estate listing for the storefront, the Iwucs still had another 10 years left on their lease. Despite David Iwuc’s statement that they would reopen in two months, the listing notes that the owner is retiring. Rent for the space, which has 700 square-feet up top and a 500 square-foot basement, was listed in May as $2,600-per-month with $195K key money.