On Monday, June 20, AAFE and Renaissance Economic Development Corp. helped Pommes Frites celebrate its official grand re-opening in the West Village of New York City.
The beloved restaurant was a fixture in the East Village for almost 20 years. But it was one of several small businesses devastated by last year’s Second Avenue explosion and fire. Renaissance, an affiliate of Asian Americans for Equality, helped Pommes Frites secure a low-interest loan to open a new space at 128 MacDougal St.
Shortly after the explosion in March of 2015, Renaissance launched an East Village Explosion Recovery Loan Program. Pommes Frites was one of five small businesses that received emergency loans through the program. Loans totaling $200,000 were administered at the very low interest rate of 2% and businesses were given the option of a six month deferment before beginning payments.
AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui said, “It was so inspiring to see the community rally around all of those affected on that tragic day. All of us at AAFE and Renaissance knew that we needed to do something to help so we quickly put together this emergency loan program to give these small businesses a chance to endure the tragedy and rebuild. We are so proud to see Pommes Frites back up and running stronger than ever and it is a real honor to be a part of this amazing business’s story.”
State Sen. Brad Hoylman attended the reopening. He called it, “yet another testament to the resilience of New Yorkers and the community that rallied to help save small business damaged by the blast. This restaurant at its new location will have an expanded workforce and bigger menu. I’m extremely grateful to AAFE, (Renaissance Economic Development Corp.) and the NYC Department of Small Business Services for the assistance they provided Pommes Frites to get up and running.”
Suzanne Levinson and Omer Shorshi are the operators of Pommes Frites, a restaurant that serves Belgian-style fries with a choice of more than 30 special sauces. Last month, Levinson told NY1, “We’re fortunate that we have the opportunity to reopen, and we’ll do the best we can here at Macdougal Street and try to carry on where we left off.” The team quietly reopened the restaurant with limited hours back in May.
Renaissance is a community development financial institution and a Small Business Administration-approved micro-lender. It has a long history of coming to the aid of small businesses throughout New York City in times of crisis.