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A year after beloved Hell’s Kitchen Dominican eatery Laly (also known as Lali) Restaurant sat on the brink of permanent closure, owner Ibis Lara has managed to survive to serve another day by moving into the nearby Healthy Market & Deli.
A perennial West Side favorite for its freshly-prepared Dominican breakfast and lunch fare, Laly and Ibis were forced to vacate the original space on 10th Avenue between W44th and W45th Street last year due to over $96,000 in back rent accumulated throughout the pandemic’s quarantine closures. Like many other local restaurateurs, Ibis did not receive COVID-19 relief from the federal government and, despite setting up a Go Fund Me page to cover costs, was unable to make up the deficit — leaving her with no choice but to abandon the Hell’s Kitchen storefront she had managed since 1998 and had housed Laly Restaurant for over 40 years.
But Ibis was determined to find her way back into the hearts — and stomachs — of her loyal Hell’s Kitchen customers. She already knew the team at Healthy Market as friendly neighbors and fellow business owners and she reached out to ask if they’d let her take up residence at one of their counters. The answer was yes – and Ibis was thrilled that Laly could remain a hyperlocal Hell’s Kitchen landmark.
“It’s so nice to be here — I feel so much calmer,” said Ibis when we stopped by Laly 2.0 to grab an order of her famous plantains. “We had gone through so many problems with COVID, and we couldn’t pay the back rent or all of the bills that piled up. Now that I’m here, we’re much better.” Loyal customers who had been nervously monitoring her financial troubles were quick to follow Ibis to the Healthy Market & Deli, where she is still focused on making the same tasty favorites like roast chicken, rice and beans, yuca, Tripa (cow stomach) and Pies de Cerdo (pig’s feet) for the neighborhood to enjoy. “We’re committed to offering the same fresh, good food,” she added.
In a turbulent period where hundreds of Hell’s Kitchen storefronts remain empty, Laly is one of just a few shuttered businesses to reappear after the pandemic shutdown and subsequent aftershocks. And while Ibis is still working to get business back to Laly’s heyday, she’s thankful for the chance to revive her livelihood. “Thank God we’re back,” she said. “We couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Laly Restaurant is operating out of the Healthy Market & Deli at 632 10th Avenue (corner of W45th Street) and is open for breakfast and lunch from 6am to 3pm.
HAPPY NEWS INDEED!
I’ve/we’ve loved Lalys’ for decades. Not only for the yummy foods and soups, but Ibis herself, as the heart of the warm and kind reception of people entering, for a meal. I was very happy to see (and have enjoyed) her return 2 doors up 10th. Wouldn’t it be Great to be able to support to her into a new restaurant location… IF I WERE A RICH MAN….yababa ………
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