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20-Year-Old LES Vegan Eatery Closing Amid Declining Foot Traffic, Rent Hike

By Lisha Arino | May 5, 2015 8:11am | Updated on May 5, 2015 6:04pm
 Tiengarden Vegan Kitchen, located at 170 Allen St., will close on May 5, 2015 after 20 years in business.
Tiengarden Vegan Kitchen, located at 170 Allen St., will close on May 5, 2015 after 20 years in business.
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Facebook/Tiengarden Vegan Kitchen

LOWER EAST SIDE — Declining foot traffic and a rent hike have forced a longtime vegan restaurant to shut off its stove and lock the doors.

Tiengarden Vegan Kitchen will serve its last meatless meals on Tuesday, 20 years after it first opened at 170 Allen St., said manager Michael Knight.

“It’s been a struggle, it’s a very quiet street,” he said.

The restaurant has been known for its meatless Asian-influenced dishes like satay udon — a Japanese noodle dish served with vegetables in a spicy curry sauce — and spicy soy cutlets, Knight said. Its closing was first reported by the Lo-Down.

Knight said the restaurant is just the latest casualty of Allen Street’s declining foot traffic, which has forced other businesses to close in recent years. While new restaurants and bars have made the surrounding streets nightlife hotspots in the last 10 years, Allen Street has remained mostly quiet and residential, he said.

“I don’t even see people come down Allen,” Knight said, adding that that most people who get off the F train stop at Allen and East Houston streets either head into the East Village or head down to Orchard and Ludlow streets.

The landlord also tripled the restaurant’s rent to about $10,000 a month, Knight said, making it even harder to keep Tiengarden open. 

The restaurant's landlord, Morris Platt of 165 Orchard Realty LLC, said he could not discuss the rent increase with DNAinfo New York because the official who runs the day-to-day operations was traveling.

“It’s just those factors combined — the rent’s going up, it’s not a busy street. We’ve had our fun,” Knight said.

Tiengarden, usually open from noon until 10 p.m, will close early at 5 p.m. so the staff can have a farewell dinner together, Knight said.

“We’re going to miss the place,” he said.