TRIBECA — A longtime neighborhood favorite has shuttered permanently, after a failed attempt at a revamp by new owners — and an eviction.
Pakistan Tea House, a small and inexpensive restaurant that had grown a following over the past 30 years for its tasty Pakistani and Indian fare closed earlier this month.
The eatery was taken over in January by the owners of Indian mini-chain Baluchi's — whose own longtime TriBeCa restaurant had shuttered last summer because of increased rents.
But the 176 Church St. restaurant — which kept its name, though had a tweaked menu to also feature Baluchi's dishes — only opened for a couple of weeks in May before closing down for good.
According to court papers, the building's landlord accused the new Baluchi's owners of owing more than $26,000 in unpaid rent since January.
The eatery was given an initial eviction notice on May 23, which the owners contested.
In court documents, Rohan Aggarwal, son of Baluchi’s founder Rakesh Aggarwal, said that while they took over the space in January, they were only able to open for two weeks in May because the building owner failed to correct violations that prevented them from getting gas service in the space for cooking.
'Since taking possession, there has been a four month delay in restoring gas thus making it impossible to cook and prepare food for patrons," Aggarwal said in an affidavit. Without the gas, they weren't able to open or pay down debt, Aggarwal said.
The judge stayed the eviction until June 23. When a City Marshal went to serve the restaurant its official eviction notice on June 28, they had already left and shuttered the restaurant, a spokesman for the City Marshals said.
Aggarwal did not return request for comment, but he told blog Tribeca Citizen that "unfortunately due to the violations on the building from the Department of Buildings, it is very highly unlikely for us to get gas to the space and therefore we had to close our doors.”
He added that they’re “opening another location in the neighborhood before the end of the year as Baluchi’s.”
The former Pakistan Tea House space is now up for rent.