Austin-Style Tex-Mex Spot and Music Venue Opens in the Village

By Andrea Swalec on May 8, 2012 1:42pm 

The musicians Band of Heathens perform at Zirzamin in Greenwich Village.
The musicians Band of Heathens perform at Zirzamin in Greenwich Village.
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MANHATTAN — Keep West Houston Street weird?

A club owner from Austin, Texas is bringing a taste of the Southern music capital to Greenwich Village

Paul Oveisi, the former owner of the all-genres-welcome Austin venue Momo's, a fixture on the annual SXSW festival list, opened the concert space Zirzamin at 90 W. Houston St. on Friday.

The "subterranean music parlor" located down a steep flight of stairs, is serving up local and nationally touring musicians alongside a short menu of Tex-Mex bar food like brisket tacos ($6), a "grown-up" grilled cheese sandwich with Fontina and bacon ($5), and breakfast tacos served all night ($6). 

Oveisi, an Austin native of Iranian decent, said in a statement that he wants Zirzamin, whose name is the Farsi word for "underground," to regularly surprise its patrons. 

"You never know who might pop in with a guitar or who might jump on the piano," he said. "I absolutely want to bring a little piece of Austin, Texas — where I got my chops curating music — to Manhattan."

The venue's long list of first-come, first-served shows for May and June includes the Brooklyn-based "Americana/big beat/folk rock" musician Satchel Jones, folk and R&B singer-songwriter Christina LaRocca and the New York "psycho-mambo" outfit Gato Loco, according to its website. 

The bar menu at Zirzamin (which is pronounced zeer-za-MEEN) showcases cocktails with ingredients like chipotle syrup and cucumber puree, but hometown favorites Titos Handmade Vodka and Lone Star beer are listed soon after. 

After Oveisi's Austin club Momo's closed in December, the Austin Chronicle wondered what venue could replicate the space it provided for the "camaraderie and joy of music-making." 

Oveisi told the paper that his loyalties haven't strayed from his hometown, where he hopes to open another location. 

“I’m having a growing experience here in New York and it’ll be a couple of years, but ultimately Austin will be the beneficiary of that," he said. 

A burger topped with an egg is on the menu at Zirzamin.
A burger topped with an egg is on the menu at Zirzamin.
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Zirzamin will be open every day from 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. 

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