‘Hoomoos Asli’ Shutters After 18 Years on the Fringe of Little Italy
Hoomoos Asli, consistently rated as one of the best Mediterranean establishments in the city, is kaput. The Kenmare Street restaurant closed last month after nearly two decades in business.
The bilingual, red canopy was extricated from the facade, and windows papered. All that remains is a farewell to customers, discussing the difficulty for mom-and-pop businesses to survive in the current climate.
With a heavy heart, Hoomoos Asli after many years will be closing its doors. We want to thank all of our customers who have tried to make our dream come true. We truly appreciate all of you.
It has become increasingly difficult for small mom and pop stores to do business in this beautiful city with our old kosher concept. People prefer quality affordable fast-casual dining without table service, therefore, we will be turning what we’ve built into something even greater to meet these new market trends.
We hope to return even better than before but as a non-kosher establishment with gourmet affordable similar cuisine. We hope you join us when we reopen.
It’s the second longtimer on the block to close within the last year, behind Mexican Radio just across the street.
Hoomoos Asli made some of the best hummus and falafel around town. It was also one of the last Kosher meat establishments in the area, certainly a blow to those who adhere to the dietary restriction.
Tsachi Cohen and business partner Sheron Fayagh launched Hoomoos Asli back in October 1999. Eighteen years, usually a lucky number in Jewish mysticism. (Numerological dissection the hebrew word “chai” adds up to 18.) The tiny corner dining room would eventually expand into the adjacent retail space back in July 2014.
The New York Times had this to say about the phonetic spelling of the restaurant’s name upon its opening:
Meanwhile, Israeli music alternated with reggae on the stereo system, creating a multilingual cacophony that didn’t seem to faze any of the diners, who seemed more intent on capturing the attention of the single waitress rushing back and forth. Somehow, she managed to keep track of everybody in the full room without losing her smile.
Such is the nightly chaos at Hoomoos Asli, which diners are willing to endure, even enjoy, because of Mr. Cohen’s sparkling Israeli dishes and good cheer. But regardless of his perpetual crinkly grin and mop-top set of corkscrew curls, it is his seriousness about the food that makes the difference. He insists, for example, on the pronunciation HOO-moose for his signature dish. ”Please don’t pronounce it humm-us,” the menu says. When Mr. Cohen moved to New York from Israel seven months ago and heard the typical New York pronunciation, he said, ”I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”