Upper Manhattan Residents Hope to Save Another Restaurant

Galicia owner Ramón Calo (Photo via Manhattan Times)

Just a short distance north of Coogan’s – which avoided closure after the community rallied behind the Irish restaurant – another eatery might have to shut its doors because of a steep rise in rent.

Galicia Restaurant has been in business for three decades serving Spanish and Latin American cuisine. Manhattan Times’ Gregg McQueen and Desiree Johnson report that according to owner Ramón Calo, who immigrated from Spain in the 1980s, Edel Family Management wants to triple his rent. Calo says that unless they work something out, he won’t be able to afford the rent and will have to close.

“We’ve been trying for the past two years to redo our lease,” he remarked. “But they always seem to put us off.”

Calo said that while the landlord did not offer a lease renewal, it did offer to relocate him to another location. That proposed site would require about $100,000 in renovation costs, he said.

“We’re not interested in moving,” remarked Calo, who said he still hoped to work out a long-term extension.

Locals hope that community support can come through once again, like it did for Coogan’s, and save yet another small business on the verge of closing its doors.

“Coogan’s seemed to get all the attention, but we have other small businesses suffering, too,” said Lena Meléndez, a Washington Heights resident who helps run Dominicanos Pro Defensa Negocios y Viviendas (DDNV), a grassroots group advocating for small business and affordable housing.

“The issue is more than just Coogan’s,” Meléndez said. “It’s about a trend of small businesses having trouble surviving, getting pushed out by landlords.”

Go to Manhattan Times for details on an upcoming rally for Galicia, along with comments from longtime customers on the restaurant, small businesses in general and how to combat gentrification.

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