In life, much like the restaurant business, the only constant is change. Bars, restaurants and cafes are always in flux, and subject to shifts, whether it’s ownership, menu, staff, ingredients or seasons, change is par for the course. Some change, however, is more final, and getting there is daunting.
The announcement of Precious Metal’s closure was a surprise for the vegan community of Bushwick, who was still rejoicing over Seitan’s Helper’s new residency. The excitement was only just building. On August 1, Precious Metal had officially launched their collaboration with Seitan’s, and only six days later publicly announced on Facebook they were tapping out.
“We’ve simply felt we as though we were stretched too thin and made the difficult decision to pour our focus completely into one business,” cited bar owner, Heather Rush on a Facebook post that broke the news August 7.
She’s referring to Pine Box Rock Shop, a bar she opened with her husband Jeff Rush and friend Colin Peer.
“There’s been a lot of sadness. People really loved that bar,” shared Rush on a phone interview with Bushwick Daily. “It’s a crappy decision I had to make.”
One that was a while coming for Rush, between low sales and mechanical failures, her final straw being the tap system. Their glycol system melted, Rush said, cutting off 18 taps and half of her inventory.
“That’s a big part of your revenue,” she explained.
Worst of all for Rush was letting down Seitan’s Helper.
“[It’s] terrible because Seitan’s is really taking off,” she expressed. “I really believed in their food, in their company.”
She still does, and has invited Seitan’s to join them at Pine Box. To which Seitan’s Helper announced via Instagram, “We tried as a team to make it work, and sadly the timing was wrong. We do make an excellent team though, and we’re hoping to continue with them in some capacity at their flagship bar Pine Box Rock Shop in the coming months.”
“You have to keep moving forward,” Rush reflected towards the end of our interview, “that’s the only way to survive.”
Seitan’s Helper’s last day was Saturday, August 10, and attendees were able to savor a final AOClub, a two-hand, two-person-sized savory club sandwich dedicated to congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, before their next pop-up for Vegan Shop Up at Pine Box August 17.
Their final day was August 11, to which Rush says, “silver lining: it will be nice to have more family time.”
Cover photo courtesy of @PreciousMetalBar.
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