Mermaid Inn-East Village
The 19-year-old seafood restaurant has taken more than two years to get its Second Avenue location back up and running after March 2020.
In August 2020, co-owner Daniel Abrams told Eater that he had not worked out a rent deal with the landlord and would close the site for good.
But by the spring of 2021, the restaurant had announced plans to reopen. Then came a new obstacle: Because the restaurant had closed, it had to reapply for its liquor license.
The new liquor license was not the only part of re-opening that felt more like opening, said Abrams.
“If it had been closed for three months and 30% of servers were coming back and 60% of the kitchen staff—it would be easy,” he said. After more than a year, though, “it’s all from scratch.” In addition, he had three other spots to get back on track—Upper West Side Mermaid Inn, Greenwich Village Mermaid Oyster Bar, Chelsea Mermaid Inn. A new venture, Mermaid Mexicana, opened in May for the first time.
“To get four open in 10 months was unrealistic,” he said. In addition, after so long a closure, the interior of the East Village location needed a paint job, new finishes on the floor and some updated kitchen equipment.
Finally, on July 18, blog EV Grieve noted that signage had gone up on the window, announcing hiring plans. A recent job posting for a general manager also appeared on hiring site Culinary Agents. Abrams and co-owner Cindy Smith are simultaneously working on a project much bigger than their original 29-seat location on Second Ave: a 15,500-square-foot restaurant at 127 W. 43rd St. in Times Square. They also operate three other locations, in Chelsea, Greenwich Village and on the Upper West Side.
This story has been updated with quotes from Abrams.