© Max Dworkin (http://Pictured.Tumblr.Com)

What else is new, right? Papacitos (999 Manhattan Ave) is closed – again. We think this time it’s for good.

I talked to two of owner Cody Utzman’s former employees who said that “all the staff at Papacitos was let go” and that owner Cody “changed his cell” and is “no where to be found.” Rumor has it that he owes “thousands upon thousands” in back rent and to suppliers.

While we have been through the closing and reopening of Papacitos in the past, it seems like it will stick this time given that Cody’s other two Greenpoint businesses have also changed hands. Earlier this year Brooklyn Standard (188 Nassau Ave) was taken over by local deli owners who, I was told by a Nassau Ave tipster, will be opening a second location on Grand St “any day now.” And Cafe Royal was reopened a few weeks ago as Cafe Edna (195 Nassau Ave) by new owners who wish to remain anonymous and changed the name in an effort to disassociate it from negatives vibes that may have been attached to Royal.

While she was not available to comment, one of Cody’s Papacitos ex-partners Kat McEldowney’s facebook status read: “Who wants to run a restaurant in Greenpoint? I’m serious.”

Update: A reader just sent us this photo that shows that the Board of Health also paid Papacitos a visit.


Do you think Papacitos will live again? Will you miss it? What do you envision opening in the former Papacitos spot? Another Mexican joint?

Join the Conversation


  1. they opened strong. we used to have a lot of fun there. Cody had recently won a couple of “Chopped” episodes and was grilling all the food himself. then they expanded from beer garden to restaurant, and then through the psychic advisor space next door. Traffic jumped. over the years the quality of food seemed to suffer, whether from growing pains or whathaveyou. unfortunate if they finally had to shut it down for good. RIP Papi

  2. All three of the places this dude owned were horrible. Sounds like he ran up as much credit as he could and skipped town. Classy.

    I wonder if the new owners are truly in no way attached to him?

  3. I recall being initially excited about Papacito’s when I first moved to Greenpoint, but the food was never exceptional, so I just ended up forgetting about its existence with so many other great options around. Calexico isn’t all that great either, but is still a notch above I suppose. El Toro on Driggs makes some decent tacos, is BYOB and has a nice back patio that’s almost always empty.

  4. Yeah, this place got worse and worse while the ambiance got better. It always seemed a bit shady, like some kind of drug front. For the money, I’ll just go to taco chulo and to stay local, I’d just go to Calexico, Vamos al Tequila or Acapulco. I will miss the Pina Coladas / bar though.

  5. That place was awful. Probably the worst mexican food I’ve had this side of the Rockies and the staff always had a terrible attitude. Maybe because they were working for a dirty deadbeat? Perhaps. This all makes sense to me.

  6. But where will I get the best vegetarian tacos?! Yeah the service sucked but I’m really bummed about the loss of my favorite tacos, esp so close to my house

  7. Cody is a self-important dick.
    I can’t say I like to wish suffering on anybody.
    But, in his case, I think it would help him to build some much-needed character.

    “In a year, I’m gonna own this whole neighborhood!!”
    Good riddance, scumbag!

  8. There was never any management in that place—kitchen or otherwise. When one hipster hires his hipster friends—a party breaks out and a restaurant closes.

  9. “Another Mexican joint?” Papcitos was hardly Mexican. The only real Mexican food on that block is the Abuela on the corner selling home-made tamales out of a cooler. And they are good!

  10. Just looked at the DOH website for the inspection info. They were hit with 26 points (just under the 27-point threshold for a B grade) and a Notice of Violation, on June 21. That results in a reinspection, which happened on July 8. Usually the couple of weeks from the initial operational inspection to the reinspection that they know is coming gives an establishment time to correct the problems, but this time it was 56 points and a closure order.

  11. Wish list:
    1. A Vietnamese restaurant with amazing Pho!
    2. A pupuseria!
    3. A hot pot spot!
    4. A Chinese dumping/noodle shop!
    5. A place that sells great fresh fish (a market, not a restaurant)
    6. Italian bakery!
    7. 24 hour diner (with amazing disco fries)!
    8. Brewing supplies shop!
    9. A Greek restaurant!
    10. BBQ joint. Yes!

    I would be happy with any of the above in no particular order.

  12. Acapulco Restaurant is so much better, this place was responsible for more diarrhea than the waste plant on Provost

  13. My wife ordered veggie tacos once and they gave her chicken, twice. Glad to see that stupid skull go as well. Down with death. Would like to see:

    Fish market

    Dignified yet not overpriced men’s clothing store

    Milkshake joint

    Art supply store

  14. This place has been going seriously downhill the last year, and the hill wasn’t that high to begin with so it got really really low. I’ve been living a block away and have gone occasionally out of desperation, each time confirming that it is definitely the WORST restaurant i’ve ever been to in NYC: No coffee at brunch, always out of key ingredients, inconsistent food (2 people ordering the same thing getting completely different things and then being told.. thats right, its how it is), inconsistent hours (closing when slow), prices subject to change between menu and your check (& upheld when called out), disorganized, bad scene, bad service, bad music way too loud. F this place. No matter what, what comes is better than what came before.

  15. In an industry notorious for miscreants, Cody Utzman is the foulest piece if shit I’ve encountered in my 37 years in the business. First place by a mile. He actually takes great delight in ruining lives. There is no gutter too rank for his sorry ass.

  16. Papacitos gave generous portions, at least. Their best dish was the pablano pepper burrito, when they got rid of it I stopped going.

    On the other hand, maybe NO food should be situated next door to that filthy junk shop/roach nest. Amirite?

  17. The food has definitely gone downhill and I have been going to Acapulco instead. I would also love a fresh fish market or an art supply shop.

  18. Man …. I loved the place. The menu was completely hit or miss but their tacos were so good, they were open late, and it had a backyard (even though it smelt like garbage depending on where you sat. It seems to be a lot worse after it closed and reopened (only to close again). A long as its not another bodega and sometime fun opens soon, I’m happy enough.

  19. Yes, it is sad that this place closed. The fish tacos were my favorite for a while. The backyard was great and it was a chill spot to relax.
    Did the owner have too much debt to keep the places open; yes.
    Did the owner take off and leave a lot of questions unanswered; yes.
    Does the owner deserve privacy and for you all to stop assume thing; Yes!

    He may have been a jerky d-bag, but it is no one’s right to assume the worst things. He put everything he had into his restaurants and was not happy that this is the route he had to go.
    After staring in and being made out to be the ‘villain’ in a BBC cooking competition show, he felt he had no other choice but to go silent.
    He has relocated back to the West Coast and has recently opened a farm to table restaurant there.
    The success he had with Brooklyn Standard has been taken over by new owners and they have recently opened a new location in Williamsburg. I urge you to all go check it out. It is all of the same sandwiches, some of which have been voted ‘best sandwich’ by online voters. His vegan and vegetarian salads and sandwiches are some of the best around.

  20. I went there twice, because the first time I went, the whole experience was complete and utter shite. the bartender was going on and on about how shes a vegan and that people who eat meat should die, all the while im trying to enjoy some tacos. Tacos tasted like shit, the beers were over priced, and like I said the service was shite. so I waited a few weeks(maybe the bartender got fired) nope went back and she was still there. I sat at a table that time, and she to my surprise was my waitress (place was always short handed) and again the food was horrible, so i paid and left. Nothing about that place was Mexican except the Tecate beers(which are so hoakie that every “mexican bar” sells them) and the music was columbian and bachata, two types of music, Mexicans do not like. This is what happens when you get White people/Hipsters trying to do traditional MEXICAN food, but hire peruvians, and ecuadorians to cook everything. The owner and the cooks, mixed all sorts of cultures food and tried to pass it off as Mexican. FAIL! Im glad its closed. hopefully something GOOD goes in its spot. Hopefully some REAL MEXICANS finally come to NYC and cook real mexican food. before anyone tries to say im racist, its not that at all. its a points in a statement. facts even. I grew up in EastLos. Chihuahua, MX, and Texas all my life. I know what Im talking about.

  21. Cody runs Frankie’s Restaurant in Albany, Oregon. Outstanding food and service. It’s always packed and is a local favorite. I’ve never had bad food or had a bad experience there.

  22. heys guys so papacitos shut down at the end well for its first good year i was the gm an chef of papacitos i made the menus an brunch with the help of a texas chef and papacitos was at best after my weird letting me go the places food quality drop papacitos will always be a good memory

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