This month, the big real estate news was that Google, in its quest to obtain more office space, was not only buying the Chelsea Market building but also increasing its footprint at Pier 57 at 15th Street. Originally, Anthony Bourdain had been planning a huge international “street food” market at the pier, but those plans fell through recently.
Once again, there were many more closings than openings this month. One trend we’ve noticed is that a number of small vacant storefronts have become men’s barbershops. It remains to be seen how many barbershops the Village can support. Many outlets have reported that the Westside Market will be moving into the Mrs. Green’s space at 585 Hudson Street (between Bank and Bethune Streets). However, I repeatedly spoke with the manager at the original Westside Market in Morningside Heights and he stated that negotiations are ongoing and no deal has been finalized.
Chelsea Market and Gansevoort Market Update
In Chelsea Market, Miznon, Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s pita restaurant, opened in the space where Buon’Italia used to be before it moved downstairs. (For more on Miznon, see “Modern Middle Eastern Dining in the West Village” on page 26 of this issue.) We were told by people working at Chelsea Market that on Sunday, February 25th, the restaurant and pasta shop Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina was selling off its kitchen equipment. When I walked by on Monday, February 26th, the door was shuttered and all signage was gone. Now open in Gansevoort Market are Makito, an “Authentic Japanese Sushi Shack” and Wing Club, which serves Korean fried chicken, either wings or white meat strips, with Soy Garlic or Asian Sweet Chili sauces. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar will be opening a stand in Gansevoort Market. Their Mott Street location sells desserts with cereal and other toppings, with or without ice cream.
Burger101 (270 Bleecker Street, near Morton Street): A burger joint has just opened in the space that used to house the Risotteria. The menu features burgers with a choice of toppings and sides, which are mostly some version of French fries. The most interesting-looking option is the Winder Fries which seem to be the unholy love child of a fry and a potato chip.
Il Mattone West Village (450 Hudson Street, between Morton and Barrow Streets): The original location of this pizza restaurant is in TriBeCa, and now they’ve added a West Village branch in the old Bread space. In addition to the Neapolitan style pizzas, there are traditional Italian dishes like Eggplant Parmesan, Pasta Bolognese, Lasagna, and many more. The locals in TriBeCa seem to really like it.
Joe & The Juice (549 Hudson Street, at Perry Street): This Danish chain, which started with one store in Copenhagen and now has around 200 stores in 14 counties, is planning to open over 100 stores in North America. Juices, Shakes (which contain milk), and Joegurts (yogurt parfait) are featured, as are coffee and sandwiches. Organic Avenue opened, closed, opened, and closed again on Hudson Street, so it will be interesting to see whether there is still an appetite for juice in the neighborhood.
Boots and Saddle Drag Lounge (100A 7th Avenue South, near Grove Street) has closed. They were originally located on Christopher Street, but in 2015 their rent increased and they moved to the much larger 7th Avenue South location which used to house the Actors’ Playhouse. At the time, many neighbors opposed the move in contentious community board meetings. Tfor (14 Bedford Street, between Downing and West Houston Streets) opened in April with two Italian chefs and a menu which included many raw fish preparations. This was a new concept from owner Tommaso Roncari who previously had the restaurant da Tommy Osteria in the space. I had avoided Nourish Kitchen + Table (95 Greenwich Avenue, between West 12th and Bank Streets) because I thought their pastries looked too healthy and not that appealing. However, I was taken there recently and found that their multi-ethnic savory dishes were wonderful. I vowed to go back to try some other items, but soon thereafter a friend informed me they had closed. Their website blamed building circumstances beyond their control. Icelandic Fish and Chips (28 7th Avenue South, between Morton and Leroy Streets), which was recently renamed ‘Fishkur Bistro,’ was housed in a cursed building, and the curse continued as they also recently shuttered. The Indian and South Asian décor store The Khazana (152 7th Avenue South, between Perry and Charles Streets) has an eviction notice posted on the door. Ironically, a Yelp review of the place enthuses that “It’s nice to see [that] mom and pop shops still exist in the West Village.” It was next door to the recently departed Akira, making this stretch of 7th Avenue South look a bit dismal. The chain sandwich shop Potbelly (41 West 14th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues), which replaced Bourbon Coffee a year or so ago, is gone. East of Potbelly on the same side of 14th Street, Ando (31 West 14th Street), has also closed after being open only four months. Ando was David Chang’s (of Momofuku fame) take-out sandwich spot, which had initially existed as a delivery-only restaurant, but had in its second incarnation opened an actual restaurant. I found the sandwiches, which were premade, disappointing and not in the same league as David Chang’s other food. Sabon (434 6th Avenue, near West 10th Street), the soap and lotion company, is closing this location. There was always someone out front handing out small soap samples to passersby. One of the few small independent businesses left on the stretch of Bleecker Street between West 10th and Christopher Streets is closing—Your Neighborhood Office (332 Bleecker Street). The copy, shipping, notary, and more store notified customers that it will be gone at the end of March, after 24 years at that location. Villagers liked the friendly staff who were the recipient of a Village Award in 2003. The Monocle Shop (535 Hudson Street, near Charles Street), which opened in 2010 as an extension of Monocle, the British magazine featuring articles on global affairs, business, culture, and design, is gone. Finally, Chubby Slim’s Joyful Nosh (44 9th Avenue, at West 14th Street) might hold the record for shortest opening. It was open for at least two days, and then a sign appeared saying they would be closed for one day for renovations; it directed customers to their sister restaurant, Sugar Factory. The hostess at Sugar Factory confirmed that Chubby Slim’s was never reopening. On Monday, February 26th, a ‘Three-Day Notice to Tenant’ was posted on the window of the space. The notice claimed that Fatbird, the previous tenant, owed $218,476.12 in rent for the period from April 1, 2017 to February 8, 2017.
Sergimmo (462 6th Avenue, near West 11th Street), a paninoteca and salumeria, is planning a grand opening the weekend of March 10th. According to Real Estate Weekly, Chama Mama (149 West 14th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues) will replace the Cuban restaurant El Paraiso. It will be an all-day bakery and restaurant featuring Georgian cuisine. Many different types of bread (undoubtedly including the wildly popular Khachapuri, an eye-shaped pizza crust filled with molten cheese and egg) will be baked in a ceramic circular hearth oven. Signage is up for Harwood (430 Hudson Street, between Morton and Leroy Streets) in the old Piora space, which, according to their liquor license application, will be “a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant featuring local and seasonal American cuisine with daily fresh plates and specials.” A sign on the window at 140 West 4th Street (between MacDougal Street and 6th Avenue) advertises the future arrival of Báo Tea House.
Scott Conant opened Scarpetta (355 West 14th Street, near 9th Avenue) in 2008 and received a three-star review from the New York Times. He later opened other Scarpettas in other cities and continues to be associated with them, but in 2014 he split from the New York restaurant. Now Scarpetta has moved from its 14th Street location to the James New York Hotel at 88 Madison Avenue, between 28th and 29th Streets.
All Photos by Darielle Smolian.