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Nov 2, 2011 10:32 AM

Milk Street Cafe & Occupy Wall Street

I'm browsing the internet just now while eating a delicious sandwich from Milk Street Cafe. This story at the NYPost: says they just laid off 21 workers because the protests have blocked patrons from the restaurant. Now he's looking at a shutdown of the store.

In previous weeks the city had narrowed passage to the store with barricades making it difficult to get to. However the barricades have been removed. Its now easy to walk there.

I suggest that any chowhounders anywhere near downtown visit the store to show support. The food is fantastic. I would hate to see them have to close.

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    1. re: bigredesq

      Thanks for the article. This is so sad. Supposably the protesters are complaining about lack of jobs, which I understand all too well and know is a huge problem. But THEY are just as bad now. How ironic.:(

      Considering I rarely if ever get to NYC there isnt much I can do, except share this with others and beg them to eat here.

      1. re: Prettypoodle

        My husband and friends were there today.

        I'd have thought the protestors would patronize the establishment and it would have been thriving. Hopefully those barricades will remain down.

        1. re: tamarw

          I have eaten there numrous times and am extermely pleased with the variety and quality of the food. However, even before 'Occupy Wall Street', I didn't think the restaurant brought in enough business to support its size and staff.
          It is sad because currenly this is the only sit down kosher restaurant in the immediate area. I find that unlike midtown, the wall street area just doesn't have enough kosher customers eating out.

          1. re: bay1

            Which is why they do their best to attract a non-kosher clientele. The owner claimed business was increasing and they were about to start breaking even when the protests started.

    2. To clarify, as someone familiar with this neighborhood, the protest is several blocks from this restaurant. In later interviews, after blaming the protesters, the restaurant owner focused on what seems to have been his real grievance - the barricades erected by the police, over which the protesters obviously have no control.

      The restaurant shown on the Daily Show is not on Wall St., - as the protesters are also not on Wall St., but this restaurant is. The police have kept the protesters almost entirely away from Wall St. And the issue with the restaurant on the Daily Show was too much foot traffic - looking to use the rest room.

      Other local food places have seen a big upturn in business.

      My tasting of the food in this restaurant and the negative reviews on Yelp, tell a different story about why this restaurant may be struggling. It is very disappointing that the food tasted has been bland or over salted and is very expensive, even compared to other kosher establishments. Meanwhile, this restaurant has gotten extensive free publicity - by blaming the protesters.

      The barricades were removed as of yesterday. Now, without dispute, the story will be determined by the customers.

      4 Replies
      1. re: nyfoodie1234

        I'm sorry you don't like the food. Personally I think Milk Street is the best kosher option downtown by a long shot. And the owner has always been upfront that his primary issue is the barricades. It was the political bias of the reporters on Fox News and the Post that pushed the anti-OWS angle.

        As of this morning, some of the barricades are back up. According to reports, the NYPD replaced the barricades because OWS was talking about marching down Wall Street.

        1. re: avitrek

          The barricades were up to protect the public (including the restaurant) from violence such as Oakland has seen. The police aren't out to destroy people's business, but if they stand by and do nothing and then these anarchists break windows they will be blamed.

          1. re: avitrek

            I agree that it would be great if there were good kosher options downtown. Circa downtown started off with high quality food and then spiraled drastically downward in food quality and cleanliness and then closed. The opinions about the food that I mentioned were not only my own, but those of several people with whom I ate and of friends - as well as Yelp posters. I really wish that the food were tasty - but it falls far short of tasty, let alone chow-ish. It would be great if the restaurant focused as much on food quality as on the protestors. I will try to go look at the barricade situation later today.

            Here's a quote from the owner about responsibility for his restaurant's difficulties: "These protesters don't understand the consequences of their actions," Epstein said. "Who's going to create the jobs they're banging their drums for?"

          2. re: nyfoodie1234

            ...and I have heard that the barricades were put up again yesterday evening. I'm not sure if that was true (a friend of ours was the one who reported it as he went last night) but I hope that they remain down.

          3. Nooooo!!!! I love Milk Street!!!!!! I really hope it doesn't close. Thanks for the heads up iambarry, I will try to go there at least once next week to show some love.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PotatoPuff

              I think the barricades will be down today. Like I said, the food is great - everybody should try to go!

              However, if anyone is worried about walking order online via seamlessweb:

            2. Hi all, please pardon the interruption.

              We realize that the Occupy movement is fostering some intense feelings across the political spectrum, but Chowhound is not the place to discuss them.

              Despite already having to remove some heated posts, we're going to try keeping this thread unlocked for now, but please keep your comments focused on the effects of the Occupy movement on local restaurants. And as always, please keep it civil.