by Caroline Benvieste
The big news this month is the re-opening of the Quad Cinema which was purchased by lawyer, film buff, and real estate developer Charles S. Cohen back in 2015 and has been under construction ever since. Many famous people came to the opening on April 13th, including Harvey Keitel, Julian Schnabel, and Mayor de Blasio, who did the ribbon cutting and declared it Quad Cinema Day.
1. The Spaniard (190 West 4th Street, at Barrow Street): The owners of a number of other bars, including nearby Wilfie and Nell, have renovated the old Oliver’s City Tavern space (and before that Boxers, and as our photographer Maggie Berkvist remembers, a furniture store in the 1950s) and opened an elegant whiskey/whiskey-focused bar with more than 100 options, over half of them Scotch whiskey. The chef, PJ Calapa, who was previously at Ai Fiori, prepares elevated bar food. The onion rings were gigantic and delicious, with a tempura-like crust rather than the usual bready cover. There are small dishes as well as steaks and burgers and other more meal-like options. The space houses a horseshoe-shaped bar in the center and booth-like seating on the periphery.
2. Clover Grocery (259 6th Avenue, between Downing/Bleecker Streets and Bedford/West Houston Streets): Café Clover at 10 Downing Street (next door to 259 6th Avenue) has opened what the owners refer to as “a thoughtful approach to a neighborhood market,” but which is instead a rather odd selection of items, many of them non-comestible. The New York Post featured a scathing article on the store entitled: “This is NYC’s most obnoxious food market.” The front of the store has a few meager vegetables, and lots of beautifully packaged and expensive skin care products. The only thing that tempted me was the pumpkin seed hummus, but since a small container was $14, I skipped it. In the back, prepared food from Café Clover and smoothies seemed to be selling well.
3. 33 Greenwich (33 Greenwich Avenue, between Charles and West 10th Streets): The large restaurant space that was most recently Chapter One, and before that the lively Mexican spot Maracas, is now a Southern-inspired restaurant. The chef, Anne Thornton, comes from Los Angeles but is also known for her stint on the Food Network in the show Dessert First. The plates, silverware, and wine glasses are all stylish and unusual; the staff is extremely friendly; and the food is delicious and not too heavy. Biscuits arrive hot in a cast iron skillet with honey-pepper butter, and the grits were the creamiest I’ve had. The desserts are made to share. I tried the biscuit bread pudding with caramel sauce and it was outstanding. A 35-seat sidewalk terrace should be opening soon.
4. Sushi Katsuei West Village (357 6th Avenue, near Washington Place): This Park Slope favorite replaced Soto. The fish is of very high quality, and the omakase, at $57 for sushi and $87 for sushi and sashimi, is a great deal. However, most of the pricier omakases around town have a more extensive variety of dishes, not only sushi and sashimi. So, to some extent, you get what you pay for. The restaurant uses almost exclusively Japanese ingredients, hence, shishito paste instead of jalapeno. The décor has not changed much from Soto.
Neighborhood spot and sandwich shop Bread-to-Go at 450 Hudson Street (between Barrow and Morton Streets) has closed. It will be missed by those who loved their coffees and light fare. A few blocks north, at 551 Hudson (near Perry Street), Perry News and Grocery has also closed. Publisher George Capsis spoke to the owner who told him that the rent in the William Gottlieb-owned building is $6000 per month and with sales of cigarettes and other items declining, it was not possible to stay in business. The original Boom Boom Brow Bar at 35 7th Avenue (near West 13th Street) has closed. The newer Boom Boom 2 Brow & Booty Bar at 30 Greenwich Avenue (near West 10th Street) is still open. Over 500 Radio Shacks closed in 2015 when the chain filed for bankruptcy, but the location at 364 6th Avenue (between Waverly and Washington Places) remained open, until now, when Radio Shack filed for a second bankruptcy. Tibetan Handicrafts at 117 Greenwich Avenue (near Jane Street) is now an empty storefront. Almost 20 years ago, I purchased a cloud runner and a lovely tiger rug there, which I have to this day. Marc Jacobs at 403 Bleecker Street (at West 11th Street), which was the last of the Marc Jacobs clothing stores on Bleecker Street, has closed. Bookmarc, across the street at 400 Bleecker Street (near West 11th Street) is still open, and employees there had no word that it would close. There used to be six Marc Jacobs stores on Bleecker Street, and now there are just ten nationwide, with only one New York clothing store left in SoHo.
After two years of renovations, the Quad Cinema at 34 West 13th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) has re-opened, but what a difference—the new sleek, elegant space is almost unrecognizable. Next door, the Quad Bar will open in the space that once, for many years, housed Filaments, a lamp and lamp repair store. West Village Tonsorial, a men’s barber and shave spot, has moved from 162 7th Avenue South (between Perry and Charles Streets) to 184 7th Avenue South (near Perry Street). The small triangular spot had briefly housed a Coffeed which closed inexplicably after a few weeks. The other location remains open at 227 Waverly Place (between West 11th and Perry Streets). Yerba Buena Perry, the boozy brunch destination at 1 Perry Street (near Greenwich Avenue) is closing and re-opening as Yerba Buena Cantina at 205 Thompson Street (near Bleecker Street), replacing Toloache Thompson. Julian Medina is the owner of Toloache (still in Midtown) and Yerba Buena.
In the window of 57 7th Avenue South (between Bleecker and Morton Streets), the storefront that used to house Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, there is a sign announcing the imminent arrival of Raviolo. Apparently, there will be an “exposed pasta laboratory,” which sounds exciting but is hard to imagine as the space is the size of a postage stamp. I am excited by the prospect of pasta, but less so about the promised vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie options. The ubiquitous City MD (331 6th Avenue, at Cornelia Street) is opening a location on the rather bleak stretch of 6th Avenue between Bleecker and West 4th Streets.
Sunni Spencer opened at 371 Bleecker (near Charles Street) on March 30th and was not planning to stay long, but it has had such a positive reception from shoppers that it will remain open through May and perhaps longer. The “Apres-Sea” boutique sells cheerful beach-themed clothing, accessories, and home décor.
Don’t stop now! We really enjoy hearing from you. Keep sending your observations of openings and closings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Maggie Berkvist.