Things have continued to decline for the indispensable Houston Street mainstay Punjabi Grocery & Deli, which has been fighting the never-ending construction outside their front door. As the East Houston Reconstruction Project continues its relentless assault on the area, construction barriers and traffic redesign have now cut off access to East 1st Street from Avenue A, further isolating the tiny shop. As a resting stop for cabbies and other livery drivers, it's a serious blow to the parking situation that made Punjabi an easy stop between fares.
Because of its ongoing struggles, the eatery has been forced to raise prices on its dirt cheap vegetarian fare. According to EV Grieve, all the items on the menu have been bumped up around 50 cents; the single roti plate jumped from $4.50 to $5 and the chickpea samosas from $3 to $3.50. All in all, a small change, but not a great sign of the times.
Construction in the area is now slated to continue to mid-2016 and once completed, the project will include an expanded sidewalk and pedestrian plaza with chairs and tables. Though this might make getting takeout from the minuscule deli a little easier, it won't solve the parking problem that's eating away the business. The online petition to the TLC—which currently boasts over 3,500 signatures—calls for a Taxi Relief Stand on Avenue A to help hungry cabbies and the business they love. Hopefully the deli can hold out for a solution.