Tex-Mex Place Closes After Christmas Tree Arsonist Causes Shed to Burn Down

Arsonist arrested but no word if Barnacho near E. 19th St. on Park Ave. South in Gramercy Park will reopen

| 13 Jan 2023 | 08:12

Things got a little too hot and spicy for Barnacho, a popular Tex-Mex restaurant in Gramercy Park near East 19th St on Park Ave. South.

A fire that was started by an apparently homeless person who was igniting discarded Christmas tree spread to the restaurant’s outdoor dining area that caused the shed to burn to the ground. The blaze also damaged three nearby parked cars in the pre-dawn hours of January 10.

Police arrested Daniel Ventre, a 39 year old male who reportedly gave as his address a soup kitchen.

A police source said that Ventre is a firebug who had been arrested a year earlier for a string of fires started in discarded Christmas trees on the west side from the 50s to Chelsea.

But while setting fires to discarded trees is a misdemeanor, after the fire spread to the shed and damaged parked cars near the shed it was elevated to a felony.

He was charged with third degree arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, a police spokesman said.