Iconic East Village vegan restaurant the Organic Grill has been forced to move after more than two decades in business.
For more than 20 long years, the Organic Grill had served East Villagers healthy meals from 123 First Ave. Vladimir Grinberg, a Russian Jewish immigrant, founded the business in hopes of spreading both delicious and nutritious feasts and could often be seen running back and forth between the register and kitchen.
However, that long standing tradition came to an abrupt end. According to Grinberg, the building which housed his business was sold — forcing a relocation to the West Village.
“We didn’t want to leave, the East Village is our home, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Grinberg told amNewYork Metro.
The closure came as a double whammy for the business, which has suffered financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and hybrid dining. Yet this interruption of a legacy initiated a journey to find a new home from where Grinberg could continue serving a customer base that has, over the years, also become friends.
The small business owner believes if there is a silver lining, it allowed him to focus on aspects of his business he can improve.
“It was giving me an opportunity to reconsider how we can be more efficient, what new equipment we should buy, what new things we should focus on, to try to do more of our house made items to make it more special. Like our sausages. We always did it ourselves but only one kind. Now we can do more. Also, I kind of did research of where we started and where we are heading,” Grinberg said.
One month ago, Grinberg opened up a new location for the Organic Grill in the West Village, at 133 West 3rd St., although the transition hasn’t been easy. Many customers are unaware of the move and have yet to rediscover the restaurant.
“They try to pick up food at the old location. Yesterday, somebody told me they were around the corner, and they were at the old location,” Grinberg explained. “I mean, we are working very hard. Obviously, we are understaffed and working double just to make ends meet.”
Still, Grinberg remains optimistic for the future. He is hopeful his old friends will rediscover him while also feeding new mouths who wander in from the nearby Washington Square Park. Not only that, but he also hopes to one day open a second location back in the East Village.
“East Village is still our home, no question about it. We still want to go back to the East Village at some point. We also want to open a pastry sandwich shop,” Grinberg said.
Grinberg also has a message for his customers: “I’d love for you to come and try our new dishes!”