Good-bye to Taste of Persia, a Throwback to the New York We Loved

Pourkay debuted at the Union Square Holiday Market back in 2012.

I remember my bewildered delight at tasting his ash reshteh for the first time at that market. It was a dish I’d only eaten in the kitchens of Persian friends on Long Island, and it was nourishing and exciting to see outside someone’s home.

Pourkay announced Taste of Persia’s closing on his Facebook page just after Christmas.

Over the phone, he explained that the owners of the pizza shop, with whom he’s had a verbal rental agreement for nearly eight years, recently sold the business, and the new tenants want him out. “The new owners raised my rent a tiny amount but promised that they wanted me to stay,” Pourkay says.

“They said they needed me, that everyone knows me and that I bring business to the pizza place.” This was in October.

By mid-December, however, the building’s owner approached Pourkay and told him to start packing. Pourkay believes this was at the request of the new tenants.

Later, he was offered an ultimatum: assume half of the pizza shop’s lease or leave. “They fooled me,” he says.

“They had me crying for an hour.”

restaurant scene; it felt like a throwback to the New York I grew up in, where of course there’s an Iranian steam table inside a slice joint in the Flatiron, because that’s what New York does. For those of us who have seen so many beloved restaurants shutter over the last decade, Taste of Persia was a rare tick in the win column.

Pourkay. In our guts, we all know that it keeps getting harder to run a business like his.

At some point, that implicit instinct becomes explicit acceptance. There are always more banks to snatch up empty storefronts.

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