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Mourn Mama’s at Heathers, Celebrate Two Boots With Luis Guzman


This week, mourn the closing of Mama’s Food Shop; next week, celebrate 25 years of Two Boots.

Jeremiah Clancy, the owner of Mama’s Food Shop, has sent out the flyer you see here, inviting friends of the shuttered restaurant to a party at Heathers. If you didn’t get a chance to visit Mama’s before its sudden closing a couple of weeks ago, this is your opportunity to say goodbye to the staff, and maybe snag one of the maternal portraits that graced the walls. Also, Mr. Clancy has told Facebook fans that he may print commemorative t-shirts.

In happier news, Two Boots will celebrate 25 years with a blowout in East River Park next Thursday. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Lower East Side fixture Luis Guzman will host an evening of live music from the Sierra Leone All-Stars, Odetta Hartman (the singing-songwriting daughter of Two Boots owner Phil Hartman), and others; poetry readings courtesy of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and performances from members of Lady Circus and the Magic Beans, the Free Art Society, and 4Heads Art Collective. As if all that weren’t enough, there’ll be free beer and pizza.

Mama’s Food Shop Closes After 15+ Years: ‘It’s Just Too Damn Hard’

mama'sMelvin Felix

Mama’s Food Shop, a cheap-eats joint that had been a mainstay of the ever evolving and increasingly upscale East Village dining scene, closed last night after more than 15 years in business. Its proprietor, Jeremiah Clancy, sent The Local a statement addressed to patrons, supporters, and fans that cited “increasing rents and property taxes, and the constant expenses that arise when maintaining an older building.” He wrote, “I now join the ranks of Kate’s Joint, Zaitzeff, Life Café, and Lakeside Lounge; all business that have folded in a neighborhood going through a period of flux,” and went on to complain: “We live in a city where the Health Department has far too much power, the cost of the permits, inspections, and maintenance are so high it is impossible for a Mom & Pop operation to keep up with.”

The move comes just a few months after the shuttering of the restaurant’s short-lived Williamsburg outpost. At that time, Mr. Clancy, who took over for longtime owner Michael Rosenfeld in 2007, said he was open to finding an investor for the East Village location.

In 1999, The Times’ “$25 and Under” critic Eric Asimov, in a $10-and-under roundup, wrote that “this little self-serve restaurant with just a few tables, offers homey American dishes that are the equivalent of white picket fences and shady elm trees.” The menu and the business model – which called for customers to order a meat and a side (or three) at the front counter – never changed much, and the place never did score a liquor license. Brunch was eventually added and the restaurant got a boost from an appearance on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” but it apparently wasn’t enough.

Here’s Mr. Clancy explaining his decision to call it quits. Read more…

Biscuit Blitz: How Does 7-Eleven’s $1 Biscuit Rank?

Kim Davis was good and thorough during his recent tour of East Village biscuit destinations, but something occurred to us: he overlooked 7-Eleven’s $1 biscuit! We asked our trusted chowhound to swallow his pride and give it a nibble. Here’s how it stacked up against the others.

IMG_4206Lauren Carol Smith

Ninety years ago, the New York columnist O.O. McIntyre was complaining that the Bowery wasn’t what it used to be. He detected “the faint rustle of silk.” What he couldn’t have anticipated was the faint rustle of hungry bargain-hunters unwrapping hot, steamy dollar biscuits, sold at the front counter of a spanking new 7-Eleven.

A review? Well, the biscuit tasted biscuity, thanks no doubt to the “natural butter flavor” listed along with dozens of other ingredients on the wrapper. It was more soggy than dry, its texture contrasting sharply with the springiness of the pale pork patty. “Spices,” the wrapper duly noted, and in fact I found pepper flakes in the sausage, responsible for the warm after-burn in the throat. Read more…