Zaragoza, a Hideaway for Cheap Beer and Burritos, Loses Its Beer

zaragozaDaniel Maurer

The price hike at Café Zaiya wasn’t the only surprise The Local got while stopping into a zed-happy cheap-eats standby yesterday – upon squeezing into the narrow Zaragoza Mexican Deli and Grocery for a spicy beef tongue burrito, we were dismayed to see empty boxes in the coolers where six packs of Estrella Damm beer had recently beckoned. The tables packed near the jukebox in the grocery’s back corner were empty. We were told the taqueria’s beer license had lapsed and a new one was expected shortly. A look at the State Liquor Authority’s Website confirms that the old license expired at the end of July, however a SLA spokesman told The Local that Zaragoza “did not send in for a renewal,” and there is no new license application pending at its address, 215 Avenue A. Which means it may be some time before you can enjoy your carnitas tacos with an ice-cold Negra Modelo again.

This isn’t the only liquor license hiccup the family-operated canteen has faced of late.

Last month, the Authority issued a press release trumpeting that volunteer decoys, in an undercover sting operation conducted from August 15 to 17, had caught 123 New York City convenience stores selling to minors. Zaragoza was one of the neighborhood delis that faced charges, along with Delion Gourmet Deli (729 Broadway), Hans Deli (645 Broadway), C & B Convenience Store (248 East 14th Street), 14th Street Deli Grocery (353 East 14th Street), Sam’s Deli (123 Second Avenue), East Village Convenience (124 Second Avenue), St. Marks Convenience (31 St. Marks Place), Robin Raj (114 Third Avenue), East Village Gourmet Deli (217 Avenue A), Sunny & Annie Gourmet Deli (94 Avenue B), and Village Gourmet Grocery (102 Second Avenue). According to the release, the groceries faced civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines for first offenses starting at $2,500 to $3,000.