Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bye-Bye Burritoville

I know it's a chain, but a few chains here and there aren't a terrible thing and besides, it's a local chain and I always liked Burritoville. Now, this location on 2nd Ave between 8th and 9th has shuttered. A sign in the window just says it's been closed and lists every other Burritoville in town.



It makes me increasingly nervous for this block.

First we got a Starbucks that later turned into that repulsive Chocolates by the Bald Man. Next, we watched the landmarked Stuyvesant Polyclinic turn into a private mansion for sale. Finally, the building at St. Marks got a Cohen's Optical and is being converted into the Theatre Condos. There has been a lot of activity on this block in just the past year or so.

What remains untouched and constant are just two places, both of them precious: The Ottendorfer Branch of the Public Library and J. Baczynsky's East Village Meat Market.


from last winter

Mr. Baczynsky emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and opened his shop in the 1970s. He has been approached to sell, but told The Villager "he had no intention of selling." While Kurowycky Meats closed (and may become either a high-end restaurant or a XXX video store), Baczynsky has remained steadfast. But we all know what happens when new generations eventually take over and the future is never certain.


from the 1950s

It might seem farfetched to worry about losing the Ottendorfer, but it wouldn't be the first public library branch we've seen fall into private hands. Look what happened to the Donnell. And the Ottendorfer was built alongside the Stuyvesant Polyclinic, in the same ornate style--which many developers would no doubt love to get their hands on. Before its renovation eight years ago, the library considered buying its own building and the Polyclinic, but didn't have the funds to do so.

Am I worrying too much?

24 comments:

EV Grieve said...

No.

Eric said...

I share EV Grieve's sentiment --- nooooo. Burittoville was a place without any pretense where I can just eat and be left alone, especially with this new EV transformation , i.e. avoid the yunnies. I remember the time when a lot of writers, artists, musicians, punk rockers, would eat there before, while looking, or a after, a gig, because of the unlimited free chips and salsa they provided. I also miss all the types of sauces (hot or otherwise) that Burittoville provided (although they haven't provided that in years). I've been to other Burittovile -- WVillage and UWS -- but the vibe and the atmosphere aren't just the same, esp. the one in the UWS -- don't know quite how to explain it.

Anyway, I guess you're right with your fears for that block; I think that Kurowycky Meats -- esp. now that you have inflicted your J-Reaper power on them :) -- will be the next one to go, and then maybe Veselka on the other side of the street. I also wouldn't be surprised if the NYPL sells or shares part of their building to a condo/hotel/boutique -- much like the one on what they're doing with the 5th avenue Ottendorfer branch.

Anonymous said...

Why is Chocolates By The bald Man"
repulsive?

What are some other places you consider repulsive?

Alex in NYC said...

What the fucK! I was just at that Burritoville last week! Goddammit.

Anonymous said...

Initially I liked Burritoville, as they had fresh ingredients and that roasted-tomato salsa is excellent. But, this location slowly went downhill with its burritos. They started becoming a tasteless, dense brick of rice/beans/meat.

Benny's is still around, although at $11 for a burrito it is priced too high.

Joshua said...

Holy Crap, they're demolishing the Donnell!?!?! Dear God, I was confused by them being huddled in the basement the last time I was there, but I just figured they were going to rennovate it or something, not tear it down for a luxury hotel!!!
This is just too much. I love the Donnell and have had a lot of great times there.
Frankly, I admit that I've been a bit worried for it these past few years, knowing that large public buildings built during the postwar period are high on the yunnies' list of "ugly stuff". I consoled myself that the Donnell was such an important cultual location that the city wouldn't dare molest it, but I see now they had a better idea--just move fast so nobody has time to protest (I suppose Bloomberg has been reading "The Power Broker").
This is just terrible. We've lost another nice place, and the wealthy have gained another hotel.
I don't know what else to say.

boweryboogie said...

it's sad to see burritoville vanish. but i always preferred downtown bakery on 1st ave by 5th street for mexican. their food is outstanding.

Eric said...

I meant "much like the one on 5th Avenue and 53rd street Donnell Library Center". Between the Burritoville and Nikos closing, I'm too distraught to think right.

Moopheus said...

"Why is Chocolates By The bald Man"
repulsive?"

It's a Stalinist theme park of overpriced chocolate insanity. It's not about the chocolate, it's all about Max, the worship of Max's amazingly huge ego. In a bizarro-world yuppie meat-market atmosphere. All of which might be tolerable if the desserts were better, and not just absurdly overpriced.

But jeez, I remember when the Burritoville and Max's Headroom replaced the kosher bakery and Kiev, and thinking, there goes the neighborhood...

Anonymous said...

Yes, let us all, each and every New Yorker near and far mourn the loss of "Burritoville". Let every child frown. Let every mother weep. Let every aficionado of burritos quiver in their speech. For on this Seventh day of August in this Eight year of the supposed new Millienium, we have lost our beloved "Burritoville". The juxtaposition of the common reference to a enclave of civilized persons with the succulent Central American treat that was "Burritoville" is no more. Let us pray.

Alex in NYC said...

"It's a Stalinist theme park of overpriced chocolate insanity"

Sentence of the day!

Anonymous said...

"Yes, let us all, each and every New Yorker near and far mourn the loss of "Burritoville""

Yes, that's because Ohio does not have a Burritoville, so they couldn't give a fuck if a Mexican joint closed. That statement would not have been so snarky if a Walmart or Dairy Queen closed in Ohio.

JackSzwergold said...

While out on a date this week something weird happened. We couldn't figure it out. And you know what me and my ladyfriend realized? They were letting us sit there and didn't force the check on us!

I can't wait to tell my grandkids about the joys of sitting around after a meal.

Mike G said...

What I'm really worried about, Jeremiah, is Moishe's Bakeshop. How much longer can they resist?

Anonymous said...

mike g - yeah, moishe's. moishe's looks like it's seen better days. get your hamantaschen now while you still can! this place needs a preservation grant. - BN

Anonymous said...

"Max Brenner" is not a real person. That (and the food) is the repulsive part.

bs said...

I was just trying to figure out what happened to Burritoville and I came across your post. I used to go to the one on the Upper East Side all the time because there aren't too many cheap options up there. I heard that the locations south of Canal closed recently and I'm just wondering if anyone knows what happened. The website is still up and lists all the locations. It does seem weird to "mourn the loss" of a chain but...it was a pretty decent place, cheap, and the vibe at the one on 2nd ave was great. Did they all close?

bs said...

I hadn't heard about Donnell either, that totally sucks. not surprising though, since it was only like a four story building...and the nypl being broke probably didn't help.

Jenni said...

Sadly it looks as if all the Burritovilles in Manhattan are now closed. So sad. They were so vegetarian friendly and let us not forget about the free chips and salsa. Where can one go for a decent veggie burrito now? Chipotle? I think not!

scottisadrummer said...

i sadly confirm as well... all of the burritovilles in the land are no more... so very sad. i have never been, nor shall i stray into a Chipotle... so, back the very delicious small non-chain mexi joints... midtown west? dig on La Paloma.

Esekla said...

I too mourn the loss of Burritoville, even while agreeing with a few posters who noted a drop in tastiness over the years. The following articles suggest that the local chain may not be gone for good, however:

http://www.chelseanow.com/cn_104/thebuzz.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/nyregion/20burritoville.html?em

avi said...

I was the manager there from 2000-2004. I was walking by last week to just stop by and was shocked to see it closed down.The place was empty and i started remembering the great times i had there. I met alot of great customers there. I always had regulars who'd order a side of rice and beans and sit and keep eating chips and salsa. Or the guys whod think the green salsa was guac, and id try to warn them...sometimes alittle to late...lol...wow...so sad to see it go....maybe its gonna be anothe yogurt shop...my god i think i saw in a blocks radius...what happened to st. marks???

pianobdg said...

Not sure if my prior post made it: BurritoVille was great! Where else can we get mexican with ingrediants such as brown rice, soy cheese, whole wheat wrap etc. I mostly used the Water Street location, downtown. 2 food establishments closed within a block this month. Is it greedy landlords, charging high rents, so there's offices, but insufficient services for the tenants? I was recently thinking that BurritoVille should have offered breakfast, for an economy of scale. Would have mad interesting omelets and soy omelets.

8 said...

Let's all give a moment of silence for these fallen menu items, we shall never get a chance to consume again: The Barbeque Tempeh Wrap :( , The TLT Wrap :(, and a final tear for the Vegetarian Sloppy Joe wrap, always a winner. For under $10 a pop with free nachos and a lemonade, what a life it was. Goodbye New York. Hello Chipotle-no-veg-option-Sprawlocity.