The East Village’s landmark Ukrainian diner, Odessa Restaurant, will permanently close this week, its owners say. Several news outlets reported the closure over the weekend, but manager Dennis Vassilatos confirmed to EV Grieve this morning that the restaurant’s last day of business would be Sunday, July 19.
Vassilatos — an employee with the restaurant since 1990, when he worked at neighboring Odessa Cafe and Bar — confirmed that Odessa was closing due to “the significant loss of business during the COVID-19 crisis,” EV Grieve reports. The closure had nothing to do with rent, he says, as Odessa co-owner Mike Skulikidis is also the landlord of the building.
Odessa Restaurant opened on Avenue A back in 1994 as a 24-hour spin-off to the longstanding Odessa Bar and Cafe next door. The bar, which closed in August 2013 due to rent increases, dates back to 1965. For the last 26 years, Odessa has been serving meat-stuffed cabbage, pierogies, and an assortment of Eastern European dishes, along with tuna melts and other late-night diner fare popular with residents in the neighborhood. This week, after a combined 40 years, the Odessa name will permanently depart from the East Village.
Commenters on Twitter and other social media platforms mourned the loss of the restaurant, which they say is one of the last remaining 24-hour restaurants in the neighborhood for late-night workers and local revelers. The diner remains open for takeout and delivery until Sunday, July 19. Order by calling the restaurant at (212) 253-1482.