Fifteen-Year-Old Hemp Restaurant, Galaxy Global Eatery, Has Closed

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Photo: Ray Rahman

One of the city’s quirkier restaurants, the Galaxy Global Eatery, has closed after fifteen years in business, according to a sign on the door. The Galaxy opened in a former Greek diner (the Galaxy Restaurant) in March of 1996, adjacent Irving Plaza, and was best known for its 420-friendly space-themed décor (neon trim, star lights on the ceiling, etc.), its techno soundtrack, and its “hemp cuisine” (owner Denis Cicero published the Galaxy Global Eatery Hemp Cookbook in 2002).

Though the menu played to a low-sodium, low-dairy diet high in fiber, fruit, and vegetables, it also boasted exotic dishes like ostrich curry and grasshopper tacos. An employee at sister establishment 119 Bar tells us the corner is merely closed “for renovation,” and in a blog post celebrating the place’s fourteenth anniversary last year, Cicero did indeed promise “a new color palate [sic] more in tune with the times.” The rest of his 2009 letter, trumpeting the Galaxy’s introduction of then-exotic ingredients such as acai, gives a good idea of the eatery’s mission and history.

14 Years - A Moment Of Thanks

It’s hard to imagine that it has been fourteen years since we signed the lease on the little restaurant that could on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Irving place in New York City. “Innovative foods for progressive palates”, became our mission statement and that we did: serve innovative food for you our progressive clients. You received us in droves and to date more than a million and a half people have come through the doors of our 32-seat café. Hemp became the first of many innovative ingredients, which launched not only a food industry but also our own niche cookbook still being used today in many corners of the world. We brought you acai, chi cha, agave, lemon spiced grasshoppers, and choclo to name a few which at the time seemed just a little out of reach of the mainstream foodie antennae. But march on we did with Israeli cous cous, hemp milk and the venerable nut of the hemp seed on our way to an edible insect menu of scorpion and silkworm. Most seem to settle in on main stay items like our famous calamari, turkey meat loaf, hempnut crusted catfish, bison steak or the seitan enchilada but for the adventurous we still aim to please while honoring vegetarian, vegan and omnivore alike.

You welcomed our social commentary on food whether it be Michael Pollans books or” Blue Gold” and “Stolen Harvest” still being sold at the café. We became more than an eatery but a place for social discourse and yoga after class meetups. A place to eat yet is mindful in this thanksgiving season of the many blessings we have during a time of economic uncertainty and political strife worldwide. We became a wholesaler on the Internet for hemp food products allowing customers from Oklahoma to Amsterdam access to products they might have difficulty finding outside their normal health food stores. And Grateful we are to have seized on a momentary wave of joyfulness in food and lifestyle. Friendship discounts have helped pave the way for stronger relationships with local business’ delivery service as well as yoga studios and wellness institutions.
But in the season of thanksgiving we are doing just that: GIVING THANKS to you our loyal patron for fourteen years and would like you to know that our landlord has announced his intention to extend our lease so we are most grateful for the opportunity to negotiate another stint of time to serve you and the communities needs for a local comfortable eatery.

We hope to do some interior sprucing up since the wear and tear of so many people has taken its toll on the interior space of the galaxy. So look for that in 2010 to give you a sense of uplifting and perhaps a new color palate more in tune with the times. I personally look forward to that challenge without disrupting too much of our sense of openness 365 days a year since we have been a global eatery designed for all faiths, creeds and nationalities.

So as we wind up the irrigation hoses from Esopus Creek Farm and button up the greenhouse we give thanks even more so for the ability to provide fresh organic produce to our local community supported agriculture group, the café and local farmers market. Our only regret is that we were unable to fulfill an obligation to participate in the farmers market in Union Square this year. We found the logistics were just too cumbersome and the economics not feasible to embrace that challenge this year. But the farm had an amazing year turning 5 years old this year. Our farmer, Jacob Diaz, receives high marks for bringing that dream to fruition after ten years of planning and crop rotation. We have formally joined the Farm Bureau and are members of NOFA and certified organically grown. Even with the rains this year Jacob managed to produce a profit, which in farming is a feat in itself. We proved that small sustainable farms can and will exist in the future for all people and the planet to benefit.

In closing I would like to thank Peter our chef and the staff of the Galaxy Global Eatery for their loyal and steadfast commitment to our mission in the eye of a fiscal hurricane this past year, which made operating the galaxy most challenging of all fourteen years. They are amazing and I love them all for their efforts.

Don’t forget to join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner if you find yourself in the city without friends or family invitations. We will always be there open and willing to serve your progressive needs. And remember, ” You Can’t Eat Money”.

Denis Cicero
And the staff of
Galaxy Global Eatery