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At the end of April, The Wall Street Journal and other news outlets reported that Brookfield Properties was purchasing seven storefronts on Bleecker Street, all located on the three blocks between West 10th and West 11th Streets. The properties are 350, 367-369, 382-384, and 387 Bleecker Street. Some of the storefronts had shops that recently closed (367-369 was a Burberry store and 382-384 housed a Michael Kors and a Havaianas pop-up), while others had been empty for a while (Mulberry left 387 Bleecker Street in early 2016, while the corner space at 350 has not had a tenant in recent memory). Brookfield has been quoted as saying that it will use the spaces to “attract innovative brands, including e-commerce companies.” We have noticed a trend already occurring on this stretch of Bleecker Street: replacing the fashion and cosmetics chains are stores that are either the first brick and mortar locations for brands (Zuri, Hill House Home, Sunni Spencer), or the first U.S. locations for non-U.S. companies (The Daily Edited).

Chelsea Market and Gansevoort Market Update

Ayada, a well-regarded Elmhurst Thai restaurant, is opening a branch in Chelsea Market in the space that used to house Chelsea Thai. (Chelsea Thai relocated to First Avenue between East 11th and East 12th Streets and should be opening soon.) In Gansevoort Market, four new stalls have opened: Avocado Man sells all things avocado; Lulu poke & bibimbap offers bowls with a choice of poke or bulgogi toppings; Butcherie & Salumerie is a pasta bar; Steak As Is is a fast casual steak spot.

Open

Mekki (15 West 8th Street between 5th Avenue and MacDougal Street): Owner Mekki Karrakchou is a Moroccan restaurateur who owns Italian restaurants in Washington, DC. He decided that New York City needed a Moroccan restaurant and felt that either Soho or the Village would be the best neighborhoods to consider. After looking at many options, he chose the former Cho Cho San space on West 8th Street because of its location and layout. The cuisine is not traditional Moroccan, as Mekki felt that would be too heavy. So, in concert with his Puerto Rican chef, he travelled to Morocco where the chef learned traditional recipes from Mekki’s mother, more modern cuisine from Mekki’s sister, and then added his own embellishments. The menu offers appetizers (which include many vegetable preparations), small plates, and tagines. The most popular dish is the Lamb a la Mounia, a tagine made with dates and honey. The dish is named after Mekki’s sister because it is her recipe. All the lamps and furniture were imported from Morocco, and the shade of blue which is a theme throughout the restaurant is Majorelle Blue, a color that was used in the Majorelle gardens in Marrakesh (which were owned by Yves Saint Laurent for many years). The staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was unusual and delicious. Mekki hopes that his restaurant will become a neighborhood hangout.

SLT (255 West 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues): A fitness studio has opened in part of the former Associated Supermarket space. This chain of gyms has locations throughout the tri-state area and also in a number of other states. SLT stands for Strengthen (your core), Lengthen (your limits), Tone (your body). Classes are offered throughout the day and personal training is also available.

Lamano (39 Christopher Street near Waverly Place): A tapas restaurant has opened in the space that used to house Greenwich Letterpress before they relocated to 15 Christopher Street. In addition to Ofrenda, the owners, Jorge Guzman and Chef Mario Hernandez, operate two other Mexican restaurants and the original Lamano in Chelsea. The menu focuses on classic Spanish tapas from the different regions of Spain, including two of my favorites—patatas bravas and croquetas de jamon. There are also a few entrees featured. Sherry-based cocktails, sangria, wines from Latin countries, and cider and beer are available to accompany the food.

Closed/Closing

The spate of diner closings continues: the Village Den had a sign in the window which read, “To Our Valued Customers: With a very heavy heart, we wanted to inform you that…after 36 years, we will close permanently on May 20, 2018. Thank you for your support, loyalty and kindness over the years. We’ll miss the friends we’ve made. Thank you for being wonderful customers.” A WestView reader spotted a newer sign directing customers to their sister restaurant, Bus Stop Cafe, at 597 Hudson Street. A second WestView reader wrote us, “Another unique neighborhood store is closing: Joseph Hanna Fine Leather Goods at 33 Greenwich Avenue. It’s been there since 1962 and they would make customized handbags or briefcases.” Joseph Hanna came to America in 1977 and first worked for his sister, who was also in the leather business, before taking over his cousin’s shop (originally called The Cow’s Outside) in 1982. Also on Greenwich Avenue, Diamonds and Cole (22 Greenwich Avenue), a consignment shop, has disappeared.

Coming Soon

Hello Wishberry (35 7th Avenue between West 12th and 13th Streets) has signage in the window of what was formerly Boom Boom Brow Bar. Their website exhorts: “GET OUT OF THAT HOUSE AND COME OVER TO OUR PLACE TO DREAM, WISH, CREATE OR JUST . . . BE. WE HAVE ARTSY KITS. PROJECTS. EXPERIMENTS. FUN TIMES. AND HAPPY FACES. JOIN US WHEN WE OPEN (HOPEFULLY JUNE 1ST!) ::TINY SCREAMS OF EXCITEMENT::” A sign in the former Good space at 89 Greenwich Avenue heralds the eventual arrival of Nightingale Restaurant and Bar.

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