An iconic East Village vegan restaurant forced to move after 20 years – but is taking on new life in the West Village
East Village’s signature vegan restaurant, The Organic Grill, has been forced to relocate after more than two decades in business.
For over 20 long years, the Organic Grill had been serving healthy meals to the East Villagers of 123 First Ave. Vladimir Grinberg, a Russian Jewish immigrant, founded the company hoping to spread delicious and nutritious treats and could often be seen running back and forth. between the register and the kitchen.
However, this long-standing tradition came to an abrupt end. According to Grinberg, the building that 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 was a double whammy for the business, which has suffered financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic closures and hybrid restaurants. Yet this hiatus in a legacy launched a journey to find a new home from which Grinberg could continue to serve a clientele who, over the years, also became friends.
The small business owner believes that if there is a silver lining, it has allowed him to focus on areas of his business that he can improve.
“It gave me the 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 make more of our homemade items to make it more special. Like our sausages. We’ve always done it ourselves, but only one guy. Now we can do more. Also, I kind of researched where we started and where we’re headed,” Grinberg said.
A month ago, Grinberg opened a new location for the Organic Grill in the West Village at 133 West 3rd St., though the transition hasn’t been easy. Many customers are unaware of the move and have yet to rediscover the restaurant.
“They are trying to salvage food from the old location. Yesterday someone told me they were around the corner and they were at the old location,” Grinberg explained. “I mean, we work very hard. Obviously we are understaffed and working together just to make ends meet.
Still, Grinberg remains optimistic about the future. He hopes his old friends rediscover him while feeding new mouths that wander from nearby Washington Square Park. Not only that, but he also hopes to one day open a second location in the East Village.
“East Village is still our home, there’s no doubt about that. We always 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 would like you to come and try our new dishes!