Cowgirl Restaurant Faces Rough Ride, But No Plans to Hang Up Spurs

By Danielle Tcholakian on January 31, 2014 6:58am 

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 The Hudson Street restaurant Cowgirl is not closing, despite rumors to the contrary.
Cowgirl Restaurant Not Closing
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — Cowgirl isn't being put out to pasture — but the longtime Village bar has had a bumpy ride this winter.

The Wild West-themed watering hole and restaurant at 519 Hudson St. recently saw its rent increase to nearly $40,000 per month, including real estate taxes, at the same time as business slowed down during the usual winter lull, manager Michelle Wakefield said.

The rough patch sparked rumors that it had lost its lease and was closing, but Wakefield, 46, said Cowgirl is gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year and isn't hanging up its spurs anytime soon. 

"It's a struggle — it's especially hard when it's wintertime," Wakefield said. "[But] we're still here, we're staying, we're not going anywhere."

The rumors about Cowgirl's possible closure earlier this month prompted parents and staff at the neighboring P.S. 3 to launch a campaign to save the beloved local spot.

"They're really part of our community," said Terry Spring-Robinson, parent-teacher coordinator and community liaison at P.S. 3, who urged parents and teachers at the school to go out and support Cowgirl.

"We're going to give them all the love and attention they deserve."

The restaurant has hosted the school's Girl Scout meetings, made chili for their square dances, sponsored baseball teams and basketball teams and been the go-to spot for both teachers and parents to meet up after school.

According to Spring-Robinson, that tradition dated back at least 20 years, to when she was the president of the P.S. 3 Parent-Teacher Association.

The restaurant's relationship to the Greenwich Village school even extends to the personal — Cowgirl's founder's daughter went to P.S. 3, and Wakefield is currently trying to get her 4 1/2-year-old into the school as well.

While Wakefield said she appreciated Spring-Robinson's support, the school's efforts left her scrambling to get word out that Cowgirl isn't going anywhere, particularly after a woman called to cancel a party scheduled for the end of the month, which cost the eatery $4,000.

Wakefield took to the restaurant's Facebook page to try to undo the damage.

For now, Wakefield is turning her focus to Valentine's Day, when Cowgirl will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with musical entertainment "swooning and crooning" the diners.

Aside from the cost of living and the rent — and the rapidly changing face of the neighborhood — Cowgirl is just the same as it was when it opened more than two decades ago, and Wakefield hopes it will stay that way.

"We're just looking for as much community support as can be mustered up," she said. "The outpouring of positive feedback has been amazing."

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