A Tale Of Two Lunch Spots Post-Sandy: Getting Back On Your Feet Is Not As Easy As Opening The Doors

yushi signboard

It’s been a good three months since hurricane Sandy left the Financial District a mess of generators and shuttered restaurants and buildings. Some places have managed to reopen because of minimal damage, but with or without phone or Internet service (or in some cases, electricity, but we’ll get to that). Many that were completely obliterated by the flood waters still remain closed with papered up windows and vague notes in the window about reopening soon.

The lower part of Maiden Lane, or as I call it “chain row,” was especially hard hit, along with other low-lying spots along the bottom part of Pearl St. and at the South Street Seaport. Two affected lunch spots were Yushi on Pearl St. and Hot Clay Oven nearby on Maiden Lane. Both were shuttered after the hurricane, and only one has reopened. I reached out to both of them, and found out that opening the doors for business isn’t an instant cure all.

Fast food Indian restaurant Hot Clay Oven has yet to reopen, and CEO and managing partner Vik Manchanda said in an e-mail that they are set to reopen the FiDi location after getting electricity back, and gas is expected to be restored this week. Repairs are finished, Manchanda said, and reopening is tentatively set for early February.

“We are so thankful of all of our patrons as we have received hundreds of emails wishing us well and a quick recovery,” he said. “That’s been a heart warming experience in the midst of the disaster for a small business operator like us.”

That’s the sunny outlook after Sandy, but what about those places that don’t have the Chipotle levels of funding that have already reopened?

Lunch’er Chloe had pointed out that Yushi on Pearl St. was open, but operating on generators and having to modify both its hours and what is served.

Daniel Lachs, a partner in Yushi Asian Kitchen, confirmed that the store is indeed running on a generator that they had to rent on their own since they couldn’t hook into the one powering the building the store is in. He said that paying to gas it up and also pay rent and all of the other restaurant’s expenses has forced them to shorten the hours of operation to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This means the store is shut down every night in order to not waste money.

“As you can imagine it’s been extremely challenging for us and all of the restaurants downtown, but we are committed to providing a service for our fans and we have worked to do this with minimal interruption,” Lachs said.


With no overnight refrigeration, the Midtown Yushi location has been used as a commissary for food, including the fresh stuff that makes up the Yu Bowl bar at the back of the store (I’d highly recommend the above Bull & Bear bowl, by the way), with food transported back and forth. In addition, spotty internet service has meant revenue from Seamless sales is sometimes lost, along with the ability to process credit cards. Lachs said they were told by Consolidated Edison that electricity could be turned back on this week.

Lachs also echoed the thoughts of many home and business owners still affected by the hurricane – especially in the FiDi which many seem to think is fully recovered.

“To be honest, it’s crazy that Wall St. is still a war zone and most NYers don’t have a clue,” Lachs said in an e-mail.
“It’s unfortunate that many businesses will never reopen. We may be back but we have struggled as the whole area is running at lower capacity due to the fact that the residential sector is far from back. My hope is that people will continue to come support us because we have tried our hardest to be of service to them.”

Yushi, 100 Maiden Lane (entrance on Pearl St.), (212) 742-2150

Hot Clay Oven, 101 Maiden Lane (btw. Gold & Pearl), (212) 269-2103


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