Drinking Out: The Spicy Rita at the Pink Teacup

This twist on the margarita used cayenne pepper on the rim of the glass, which made every sip spicy. It’s from The Pink Tea Cup, a Greenwich Village soul food cafe that almost didn’t make it out of the recession.

Mary Raye opened The Pink Tea Cup in 1954. Over the years, it’s been run by a succession of her family members–her husband starting in 1979, then their niece and grand-niece in 1989–and settled in its Grove Street spot in 1982. By December last year, it was struggling, and it closed in January.

A group of customers banded together to save it, and one of them, theater owner and filmmaker Lawrence Page, finally reopened it in a larger location on busier Seventh Avenue. And now it has a stage for live music and a full bar, bringing it from cozy neighborhood cafe to noisy nightspot.

I’m uncertain how I feel about the change in ambience, but I’m pleased to report the food is still amazing–especially the fried chicken with waffles. Not to mention the catfish. (Charles Raye, the founder’s husband, gave the new owner the recipe book.)

In the press release announcing The Pink Tea Cup’s return, the new owner emphasized the new bar and its manager/cocktail creator, Eric Gonzales. The Spicy Rita is probably his creation.

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