NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vegan restaurant that opened more than 40 years ago is about to serve its last meal due to rising rent, and more competition.

It’s a slow death that many restaurants on the Lower East Side have suffered.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, there was a full house at Angelica Kitchen on East 12th Street, as long time customers from all over came to get a final meal.

“I’ve had people fly in from Chicago, fly in from Europe, and just come and eat Angelica,” general manager Ali Sheppard said.

The restaurant has been a pioneer in the clean eating movement.

“They were farm to table before that was hip and popular, they were interested in being supplied by local farmers,” Celeste Villanueva said.

The whole neighborhood is facing rising rents. Louis Puopolo with Douglass Elliman said it costs about $200 to $350 a square foot.

“On a good day $15,000 a month to about $25,000,” Puopolo said.

John’s Restaurant has been around since 1908, owner Nicky Sitnycky said restaurants are closing like crazy.

“East on Avenue A, and that went out this years, East 12th Street trattoria, Lanza’s that was there forever, went out last year. It was an Italian restaurant that was almost as old as us,” he said.

Sitnycky said he’s had to keep changing things up to stay in business, like offering vegan options.

“And if you look at our complete Italian vegan menu, it mirrors our traditional menu from dish to dish to dish,” he said.

One couple said they were priced out of living in the East Village.

“A landlord forced us out in 2005, then we ended up on the Lower East Side, and now we’re in South Brooklyn,” Cynthia Lamb said.

They’re hoping old spots like John’s are able to survive.

“It’s painful, it’s truly painful, I wish you the best because I don’t want to see you go,” Lamb said.

A realization for customers at Angelica Kitchen which will shut down Friday after serving its final meal.

Friends have started a Go Fund Me account to help the owner pay local farmers and suppliers that are owed money.


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