Last week South Slope News reported that Milan, the restaurant at Fifth & 22nd, is closing . Milan has served hearty Czech and Slovakian dishes on Fifth Avenue since the 1990s, but now the business is for sale and the space available to rent. This particular part of the neighborhood, especially in the high teens and twenties, has been a center of Polish, Ukrainian and Slovakian life since the late nineteenth century, and attracted new waves of East & Central European immigrants through the 1990s, but the community has declined in more recent years.
Just look at that beauty of a building!
Here's Milan in 2011, when the next-door Smolen Bar & Grill was about to turn into Mary's
and here's Smolen in '09 when it was still a functioning bar.
The White Eagle Tavern left Fifth well before Smolen, & last summer word spread that Eagle Provisions was up for sale, but there's no change of ownership, or any sign of the place being on the market today. Things look much the same there, & the Zawisny brothers are still running the show, but farther north, at the more recent Jubilat, business is decidedly brisker. You can still buy provisions, thank goodness - I served a cold-weather kasha varnishkes with kielbasa and pirogis last week - but there's no sit-down spot around here for some Slavic soul food. Now that's a shame.
A Milan review: Slovakian Fare Hearty Enough to Chase a Chill (NY Times, 1998)
Real Estate Monday: Eagle for Sale
St. Mary's Chapel
Real Estate Monday (Eagle Tavern) & Stop Order (more Eagle)
And some more of those old Czechoslovakian customs...