At the start of the new year, it was announced that Taste Of Persia, a beloved local Persian restaurant nestled inside of a nondescript pizza place in the Flatiron district, would be closing. Friday marks the last day it will be open at its current location—and there is now a GoFundMe up to try to help owner Saeed Pourkay open in a new space.
"When Taste of Persia closes on January 31st, Saeed will have to pause business and resort to freelance catering, until he raises enough to open his own restaurant—that’s where you come in," the GoFundMe reads. "Saeed’s goal is to raise enough in order to open a small counter service restaurant in Manhattan—the goal is to continue serving his existing clientele within reasonable proximity to his 18th street location/Flatiron, have enough space to seat 10-15 people and for a small kitchen." The estimate on what that'll cost, covering three months worth of rent and a deposit—plus renovations, furnishings, kitchen equipment, and insurance—is $95,000.
Along with the GoFundMe is the video below, which features Pourkay giving a history of the shop:
Pourkay, who emigrated to NYC from Tehran, ran a print shop on 18th Street for two decades before cashing out and becoming a professional cook. He first developed a following at the Union Square holiday market selling ash reshteh (a popular, thick soup) before he opened the location inside Pizza Paradise on 12 West 18th Street in early 2013.
As we wrote in 2016, "What Taste of Persia lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in hospitality. Order from the frequently-changing menu in Pourkay's little island of steam tables up by the front door and carry your tray to one of the rickety tables in the back. You will feel happy here."
In December, Pourkay said he was informed that the new owner of Pizza Paradise wanted to "move in a different direction."
"Customers are shocked by the news, everybody is shocked, and very disappointed," Pourkay told us earlier this month. "I have to leave the space by the end of the month. I have to find a new spot, I have to start looking."
We've reached out to the new owner of the pizza place for comment and will update if we hear back.