COLORS restaurant to reopen on the Lower East Side

Lower East Side cooperative restaurant COLORS, which closed in 2017, employed many survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This photo shows a sous-chef in 2005. Photo Credit: Newsday Staff/Bruce Gilbert

The cooperative, which employed survivors of the terrorist attacks, closed in 2017.

Lower East Side cooperative restaurant COLORS, which closed in 2017, employed many survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This photo shows a sous-chef in 2005.
Lower East Side cooperative restaurant COLORS, which closed in 2017, employed many survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This photo shows a sous-chef in 2005. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

When the Lower East Side cooperative restaurant COLORS — which employed many survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — closed in 2017, so did an opportunity for survivors to thrive.

But now those survivors are making a return to the LES. On Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the attacks, they will join elected officials, artists, and activists to announce that COLORS will reopen in October.

The restaurant was originally founded by employees of the Windows on the World restaurant, which was located on the 107th floor on the North Tower in the World Trade Center and lost 72 employees on Sept. 11, according to USA Today. With the help of nonprofit organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, COLORS helped employ those who not only lost their job the day of the attacks but were struggling to regain their footing.

Since the restaurant opened in 2006, ROC has emphasized that COLORS employees are comprised of a diverse collective and are all paid above the minimum wage. They also created a training program that aims to help people of color learn fine dining and bartending skills.

“We are truly excited about the reopening of COLORS in honor of our brothers and sisters who worked at the Windows on the World,” Saru Jayaraman, president and co-founder of ROC United, said in a news release. “Through the lens of COLORS, we are proud of all the hard work that our members and supporters do to continue raising the issue of race and gender equity and fighting for living wages in every restaurant across America.”

COLORS will offer a new menu with a focus on black American cuisine curated by executive chef Sicily Sewell-Johnson, previously of Pinky & Red’s in Berkeley, Calif.

The restaurant will reopen at 178 Stanton St. in the Lower East Side, though a date has not yet been announced.

Li Yakira Cohen