Friday, May 10, 2013

Dojo's

VANISHING

For the second time today, Ken of Greenwich Village Daily Photo shares some shocking bad news on his Facebook page. Now he tells us that the sole surviving Dojo, by NYU, is closing.



He writes, "Rent increase will force one of the best healthy, inexpensive restaurants in the Village to close this summer. Bartender said it 'will reopen as something entirely different.'"

Dojo has been around since 1974. It began as the Ice Cream Connection on St. Mark's Place, complete with druggie flavors. When the Dojo on St. Mark's shuttered, the one on West 4th remained. Says the Dojo website, "Dojo went through hippie years, drug years, New York’s first blackout in 1970s, Avenue B Houston and 14th Street riot, pop art culture movement with Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol...you get the picture."

Now it's goodbye delicious and cheap soy burger dinner. Goodbye carrot-ginger dressing invented in 1973. Hello 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Subway, cupcake bakery...whatever the zombie machine churns out next.


33 comments:

Paul Pelkonen said...

Goodbye the only restaurant that ever served me a large stir-fried cockroach in my dinner. Not a great loss.

marjorie said...

oh NO. this one hits hard. this was my youth.

laura said...

agree w/the first comment. a filthy place. been there one time dont remember when. it opened way after i moved out of the EV. a great loss would be B&H, if it already hasnt vanished. (clean food, normal).

Ms. said...

"goodbye delicious and cheap soy burger dinner. Goodbye carrot-ginger dressing"--thank goodness I know how to make my own of both items...still, another sad loss.

Anonymous said...

The hits keep comin'!

Anonymous said...

It's awful food, awful service and cheap pricing were ideal for any occasion. RIP. Also, THEY invented carrot ginger dressing? Err...interesting assertion.

Jenography.net said...

Part of my youth evaporating. I used to live just down the street on St Mark's Place and that location was the first place I ate in NYC.

chris flash said...

This is really BAD news. DoJo was always a favorite of mine, where prices have never gone too high.

My NYC is dying piece by piece....

King Ning said...

The first citywide (and most of the Northeast) blackout in New York occurred on Tuesday, November 9, 1965. I was five. The next one was on July 13-14, 1977. that one was localized. Southern Queens still had power.

Ellen Fagan said...

A crying shame!I was just there a couple of weeks ago. I still terribly miss the St. Marks incarnation, but this was a more-than-acceptable substitute...never into health food, I dearly loved their cheeseburgers in a pita. Dammit all!

Anonymous said...

This was a great option for college kids back when they were alll broke all the time. Now that they are all wealthy asians..

laura said...

i lived thru both blackouts. i remember every detail. never a dull moment.

Anonymous said...

ahh dojo's in the 80s. my youth. soy burger with tahini. roaches. i was more wistful when the og dojos on st. marks closed in 2007. this sibling has certainly been on the deathwatch list for quite awhile, its more amazing they hung in there this long. and that carrot ginger dressing, which even if they did not invent it, they most certainly did invent/popularize it for nyc.

vzabuser said...

Todao the owner still has the Japanese places near Stuyvesant St. "Crazy Tony" as he was known when he opened DOJO- was the creator of the Ice Cream Connection- across from the Electric Circus. Try the Sunrise Markket for groceries or Sharaku or Yokocho

Giovanni said...

Saddest news in years, since Dojos was one of the last of those cheap and delicious 70s style healthy restaurants that NYU students no longer seem to need given their 900 calorie a day diets and preference for sushi.

For several eons the Soy Burger Dinner stayed at an amazingly low $2.95, it was incredible how they kept the prices as low as they did. Even Side orders could be had for $1-$2. But the Soy Burger eventually went up to $3.95 and then $4.95. Last week I knew the end was near when I noticed it was up to $7.95.

NYC Restaurants need to get $20-$30 per head to break even with the new exorbitant rents (thus all the alcohol and $10 appetizers). I just spent $50 for lunch for 2 at Veselka yesterday, not so long ago it would have been less than half of that.

To the posters who complain about the roaches in the food--most of that sushi you eat comes straight out of the Hudson and East Rivers (not joking--I have actually these fish being brought into a certain Battery Park City sushi restaurant by the busboys who out stand on the dock nearby with fishing poles). At least the roached added some protein.

I recently talked to Dojo's owner about returning to St Marks but he said no way, its all about funky Japanese or Korean snack food for all the Asian students and tourists, or dollar pizza for everyone else.

Welcome to Tokyo on the Hudson, next stop: $50 organic grapefruit.

Ken Mac said...

That's an old shot. When is that from?

John K said...

I mostly stopped eating at DoJos after stories/rumors about diners suffering from food poisoning back in the mid-1990s, but it was nevertheless always a great affordable option near NYU for a sit-down meal, and it's very sad to see it disappearing, especially because the sharp rise in rent, yet another symptom of Bloomberg-era hyper-gentrification. Maybe a gazillionaire will appropriate the name and start a new DoJo's, charging $175.95 for artisanal soy burger on artisanal bread and $500 for a NYU-student prix-fixe tasting menu...

Anonymous said...

Is there any personality left in NYC? Are we slowly being assimilated in the mall mind-set without the actual mall? Are the only independent eating establishments going to cater to the 1%?

Caleo said...

I ate at the original on St. Marks in the early 90's, but never liked the food. Very poor quality, and that's coming from someone who's not that discriminating in regards to food. I took a date to the one near NYU in 1997, and never went back. But I'm sad to see another piece of the old city disappear. It is shocking how long it held on.
To Giovanni- try again bro. You can't catch tuna and salmon in the East or Hudson river.

Pat said...

The other day I was telling someone about Brownie's restaurant off Union Square West where I used to get a lovely piece of broiled fish, brown rice and a vegetable for $5 in the 80's. He said, well we still have Dojo. Now Dojo is going away, but I will not miss Dojo like I miss Brownie's which closed when Sam Brown, the owner, chose not to want to keep running the place.

steven said...

Wow! I worked at this location from the mid 90's until 2001. The landlord at the time was an obnoxious jerk lol! As I recall he owned a few buildings on that block.Dojo didn't invent carrot dressing (there's no ginger or miso in that dressing) they make their dressing fresh daily in the prep room. Other places that have it buy it pre-made. Anyway, that's too bad, it's still an affordable, unique place. I doubt Tony will open another one years ago he was looking into opening locations by Columbia and Park Slope but that never happened.

laura said...

i never eat raw food in a restaurant. 5 star or no star. someones filthy hands are touching it. only broiled grilled baked, too hot for them to touch. never liked st marks, even when i lived near by. i took taxie thru around 2008, whats up w/all those hummus what ever places, & crappy indian clothes? dojo reminded me of the paradox resturant in the mid 60s, another dirty hole. what did i know? i was like 17 yrs old. dont cry for every closing, i certainly didnt.

grubby kowalski said...

laura, I feel sorry for you, what made you hate people so much?

Anonymous said...

The space will likely be taken over by a corporate chain that has no personal stake in the community; it's only about the numbers. NYC is quickly becoming the largest Midwestern city in the US.

Nick said...

I agree NYC is gone trust me my family came here 108 years ago.Sorry for all you people paying $5000 for a one bedroom my grandmother was paying $20 You missed the real great New York.

zara said...

Since I moved down South...one of my saving graces was coming home and going there to eat. I need the recipe now for the carrot ginger dressing! :(

sistermorphine said...

It's so sad to see my old haunts disappearing piece-by-piece. I ADORED going to Dojo's on St. Marks in the 80s. I was desolate when they closed. The one in the West Village was some consolation.

I live in Boston now(tell me about wealthy studunces(not a typo-stude nt plus dunce equals studunce)taking over)and I MOURN the NYC especially the LES/EV of yore. I mourn it so much that I'm writing a book, partially to relive those glory days...my memoirs-a literary time tunnel! Back to Dojo's, I thought it was a triple threat of good service, good food, and good prices. It was great to sit outside and people watch on St. Marks. Bless you, this column, and the people who contribute. We'll keep OUR LES/EV alive in our hearts, minds, and souls while the cookie cutter corps try to turn the best city in the world into suburban shopping mall.

LONG LIVE LES/EV OF THE EIGHTIES!!!

NANCY NEON

Anonymous said...

I haven't eaten at Dojo's in I don't know how long, but this is still kind of sad. I have so many memories of going to the one on St Marks after seeing bands play at CB's or Pyramid. Yeah, the place was filthy and my friend did once find a roach in her home fries, but we could never resist the siren song of that $3 soy burger platter.

aleXander hirka said...

Strong rumor that Dojo is not leaving. But prices will go up. As someone who has eaten there many many many times over the years I am very happy to hear this.
And does anyone really have a recipe to duplicate their wonderful dressing?

Susan Urbanczyk said...

I was a waitress at Dojo's in the east village. We worked our butt's off. My favorite customer was Joey Ramone. Sweet, shy and so pleasant to serve. But sad to say the owner was a horrible man that turned a blind eye to the managers that would touch us and take our shifts away for not doing "favors". Not sad to see it go.

bonnie said...

It's back. Call it Dojofuku. Asian tapas or something. Artisanal. Heritage. #*@!!!!

I don't know, maybe I should go back and look again, see if I was just being cranky because I was all excited to get the cha siu ramen I used to always get there. That didn't make the new menu. I know there are a million other ramen places but I'm bummed.

Unknown said...

I just walked down St. Marks Place tonight, after about two years, and I suddenly began to feel nostalgic for the vibes of the 70's and 80's. I remember going to the Electric Circus and the Filmore in the 70's. I tried to remember just where Dojo's used to be on St. Marks. I had stopped going there decades ago, but did frequent the one near NYU in recent years...though not like before. Anyway, I was sad to hear it had closed too. I'll miss the hijiki tofu burger and their version of carrot dressing the most. Great prices. I never had a roach problem, thank God. But, I'm sorry that other people did and I couldn't have known about the sleazy manager.
Ironically, I, too, am noticing the loss of the clubs, restaurants, cafes, performance spaces, and galleries that made New York City's Greenwich Village--East and West--unique.
Pearl Paint on Canal St. closed a month ago
So much has changed around St. Marks. It's become a neighborhood that has lost it's soul. Perhaps, in a few years it will have transformed into something new to characterize it. For now it's a neighborhood in major transition.

Former East Villager said...

That location is back. I had the soy burger dinner for takeout (with an extra tub of that dressing) a few times a few weeks ago, revisiting NYC.

I found this post Googling the carrot ginger dressing recipe.