The Mermaid Inn struggles to obtain liquor license ahead of planned East Village reopening
Casual seafood stalwart the Mermaid Inn is aiming to reopen in its original East Village location following a seemingly permanent closure last August, according to the New York Post. The popular hangout closed down after 17 years — to the dismay of many longtime customers — as the business owners cited mounting debt and failed rent negotiations with the property’s landlord.
Now, they’re back in action — or will be, as soon as they can secure a liquor license. The New York Post reports that the restaurant’s owners — who felt encouraged to reopen after finally securing a better rent deal and seeing more economic activity in the city this year — are struggling to obtain proper licensing from the State Liquor Authority. The owners say the problems stem from a state law that bars NYC restaurants and bars from accessing temporary liquor licenses while the SLA approves the full permits, which can take anywhere from four to six months. Elsewhere in the state, restaurants and bars are able to secure temporary licenses within 30 days.
The Mermaid Inn doesn’t plan to reopen until they can sell alcohol on-site. “What’s the purpose of opening a restaurant without serving alcohol?” co-owner Daniel Abrams tells the Post. “If you can’t offer a glass of wine with the oysters, diners will go somewhere else.”
In other news
— The owners behind Bath Beach, Brooklyn restaurant Georgian Deli and Bakery have opened a fast-casual version of the shop in Greenwich Village, selling khachapuri, stews and soups, and khinkali that Grub Street’s Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld highly recommend.
— Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, a dinner series founded by buzzy D.C. chefs, is coming to NYC in May in partnership with Resy. The program offers $165 five-course takeout meals for two featuring dishes from 21 crowd-favorite restaurants in the city including Di An Di, Kimika, Llama San, and Fish Cheeks. Orders are now being taken for the first pickups starting on May 2. Part of the proceeds will be donated to local AAPI-led non-profits, including Heart of Dinner.
— Greenpoint Mexican restaurant Xilonen is handing out free vegan tacos today in celebration of Earth Day.
— Chef and owner Rawlston Williams of the Food Sermon has launched a fundraiser to support recovery efforts in his homeland, St Vincent and the Grenadines, where recent volcanic eruptions have displaced around 20,000 citizens. The donations will be used to fund as many meal distribution centers — to be set up near government shelters — as possible.
— Southeast Asian restaurant Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side is reopening for indoor and outdoor dining starting April 28, according to a spokesperson. Chef Leah Cohen’s newer restaurant Piggyback, which opened shortly before the pandemic, is tentatively slated to reopen this summer.
— A grassroots collective called FIG has teamed up with the nonprofit Sky High Farm to help fight food insecurity in New York City and the Hudson Valley, through an event series called ”Added Value.” The fundraiser will run from April 22 to May 2, working in collaboration with some of New York’s top restaurants and chefs: Honey’s, Four Horsemen, Insa, as well as pop-ups from Kia Damon, Libby Willis, and Ha’s Đặc Biệt, among others. Tickets are available on individual hosts’ pages, but the full line-up can be viewed here. — Emma Orlow, Eater New York contributor