25. Gaia’s Italian Cafe (Opened 2011)

Gaia Italian Cafe, recently closed eatery in the Lower East Side of NYC

Italian eatery Gaia on the Lower East Side will be closing at the end of July, after the landlord decided not to renew the lease, which expires on July 31. The rather hidden East Houston Street restaurant was opened in January 2011 by owner Gaia Bagnasacco. Gaia is in the midst of searching for a new location after losing its lease, and for now, it was conducting takeout business until July 26th. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page cited reasons for the restaurant’s closure as “end of the lease, eviction and to two year of harassment.”

Gaia is known for light fare like paninis, such as their Delizioso with prosciutto, mozzarella, and anchovies, or their Piccantino with salami and mascarpone. Tuesday through Saturday, Gaia offered daily pasta specials, such as pasta with a variety of seafood on Friday, and cannelloni on Saturday. Popular entrees included bresaola (dried and cured aged beef), caciotta cheese with truffle honey, and pesto lasagna.

“We want to celebrate earth,” Gaia writes on its menu. “We are guests on this earth, we do not possess it and we believe we need to learn and develop more respect for this planet.”