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Punjabi Deli Fans Crowdfund $38K in Two Days to Keep the Beloved Indian Spot Open

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Plus, 99 Favor Taste in the East Village appears to owe over $50K in back rent — and more intel

An exterior photo of the deli with a green awning out front and two yellow taxi cabs in the foreground
Punjabi Grocery and Deli
Via Google Maps
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Punjabi Grocery and Deli GoFundMe raises tens of thousands of dollars over the weekend

Following a recent Gothamist article checking in on Lower East Side Indian stalwart Punjabi Grocery and Deli, fans raised more than $38,000 over the weekend to help keep the tiny, beloved spot open, EV Grieve reports. Jessica Morgulis launched the GoFundMe fundraiser on Friday after reading the Gothamist story, which notes that the deli only recently reopened in July after being completely shuttered for nearly four months. Over the weekend, the fundraiser skyrocketed towards its $50,000 goal, spurred by over 1,300 donors.

The 25-year-old establishment — owned by Kulwinder Singh — is a standby in the neighborhood known for inexpensive and filling vegetarian Indian fare including an array of vegetable curries and fried pakoras and samosas. But operations have been tough over the past decade: Years-long construction in front of the space has made parking difficult for the NYC cabbies who are regulars at the shop, and the cabbies themselves are no longer as prevalent in an era dominated by ride-share services like Uber and Lyft.

Many of the city’s longstanding restaurants and bars have been thrown into jeopardy due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, as operators cut hours and try to make ends meet with takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. Plenty of places have turned to GoFundMe to raise financial support amid the pandemic. At Punjabi Deli, the news around the fundraiser generated lines outside the restaurant over the weekend, and the restaurant says the response has been “incredible” and has led to a “tangible uptick in business” for the location.

In other news

— The East Village location of hot pot chain 99 Favor Taste owes over $50,000 in back rent and taxes for July and August, according to a notice posted on its front door.

— A police officer in Suffolk County started a Facebook group that has now grown to over 30,000 members demanding a boycott of Montauk Brewing Company after the shop posted in support of Black Lives Matter.

— Upper East Side Greek spot Avra says rumors are being spread, possibly by its competition, about a robbery at the restaurant that never occurred.

— The State Liquor Authority has suspended liquor licenses for six more restaurants and bars over the weekend due to social-distancing violations, including famed nightclub House of Yes in Brooklyn.

— Monday sustenance:

Punjabi Deli

114 East 1st Street, Manhattan, NY 10009 (212) 533-3356 Visit Website