Correction: in the October In & Out, we reported that Toosh, a shoe store at Bleecker Street (east of 7th Avenue South) was closing. We hear from the owner that it is not, and a further check reveals that it is very much open. We apologize for the error.
High rents and real estate taxes contributed to a number of closings and possible closings this month. There was a high-profile opening, and as has been the trend for months, more Asian restaurants opened/are opening in the neighborhood.
Chelsea Market and Gansevoort Market Update
In Chelsea Market, Tuck Shop, the stand that sold Australian meat pies, closed at the end of September, and has been replaced by Tings, a Jamaican Jerk Chicken stand. In Gansevoort Market, two new spots have opened: Noodle Culture, serving noodle soups and dry noodles, and Panchitos, a Mexican spot. A menu is posted for an upcoming stand that will serve Kathi rolls and Kulfi (Indian ice cream).
Uncle Chop Chop (7 Cornelia Street near West 4th Street): The chef and owners of this Southeast Asian restaurant are Australian, and the menu is all over the place, but in a good way. We tried the refreshing Green Papaya Salad, and the delicious Crab Fried Rice and found the seasonings intense and exotic. The Balinese Shredded Roast Duck brought back memories of dining in a warung in Indonesia. I would happily return to try a number of their other dishes such as Red Curry with Chicken, Duck Pancakes, and Dumplings with Rick and Morty Szechuan Sauce.
Intersect by Lexus (412 West 14th Street, between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street): Danny Meyer and Lexus are teaming up at this new restaurant that will feature a rotating roster of chefs. Things kick off with Gregory Marchard, the chef from Frenchie in Paris. While I have the “Frenchie” cookbook, I have never been able to get a reservation at the restaurant, so I am looking forward to trying his cuisine here later this month. Chefs will cycle in and out every four to six months. There is also a cocktail lounge and café on the premises.
Follain, a beauty products shop advertising “Clean Ingredients, Beautiful Results” has opened in the space that used to house Green Apple Cleaners (which moved up Greenwich Avenue to a smaller location). Antique store Olde Good Things has opened a new branch at 71 8th Avenue (between 13th and 14th Streets), replacing Shoegasm, which moved to Chelsea. One of our readers alerted us that apparently Olde Good Things is part of a religious organization in Scranton. Further digging turned up a 2004 article in the New York Observer that reported that “Olde Good Things is a phenomenally successful salvage and antiques concern operated by the Church of Bible Understanding, a religious organization that has been called a cult by former members.” Trois Petit Cochons, an American company that produces authentic French charcuterie and pâtés has opened a pop-up at 257 Bleecker (at Cornelia Street) in the old Sugar and Plumm space. They are selling their whole line of charcuterie as well as sausages, mustards, cornichons (small gherkins) and mini toasts, all of which could be nice at holiday parties. The store will be open until December 31st.
I got word that Gourmet Garage (117 7th Avenue South between West 10th and Perry Streets) was closing, so I stopped by and saw the “Store Closing—Everything 25% Off” signs in the window. I spoke to the manager who told me that they had never recovered from the forced temporary closure when construction was going on to add floors to the building they occupy. The manager estimated that they permanently lost about 25% of their business, and they also lost the synergy with the gym next door (people would go to the gym and then to Gourmet Garage before going home), which never re-opened. As the sign indicates, they are selling everything at a discount, and will close when the merchandise is gone. The company is also closing their location at 96th Street and Park Avenue which will bring their number of locations down to three. I heard from a member of the 13th Street Alliance who had received an email from Chandra/Jo Sgammato, the general manager of the Integral Yoga Institute (whom I had interviewed for an article on Integral Yoga published in the July 2016 issue of WestView News). In her email, Chandra said: “After 45 years of service, Integral Yoga Natural Foods (229 West 13th Street between 7th and Greenwich Avenues) will close on December 23rd. The retail climate has changed and is filled with overwhelming competition and challenges. Small local stores keep losing ground to big corporate chains. We are proud of the trailblazing, ground breaking and revolutionary role that the food store played in the launching of the natural foods movement. Now organic and plant-based natural foods are everywhere.” I shopped frequently at the store, and will be very sorry to lose it. The Institute remains open. Snowdays (167 7th Ave South at Perry Street), a shaved frozen cream spot is dark and the phone has been disconnected. A sign in the window indicates that it is closed for renovations and encourages people to go instead to its East Village branch. Recently, a “Store for Rent” sign has also appeared in the window. We heard from a number of people that Amy’s Bread (250 Bleecker Street at Leroy Street) will be closing at the end of the year when their lease expires. A call to the store confirmed this. Other branches in the city remain open, including the one in Chelsea Market.
Bonchon, the Korean chicken wing chain is coming to 131 West 14th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) where Desco Vacuum used to be. I had pretty much given up on Chama Mama, a Georgian (former Soviet Republic) restaurant and bread bakery that was supposed to open at 149 West 14th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. We listed Chama Mama under “Coming Soon” in the March issue, but since then there was no activity at the site. Recently however, work has resumed, and the windows are now papered with the restaurant’s name and interesting facts about Georgia, such as “Gender finds a balance in the Georgian language: there’s only one pronoun and it applies to both men and women.” A sign in the window at 171 West 4th Street (near Jones Street) in what used to be Sweet Time Dessert Café announces the arrival of The Coppola Café, which will serve Sicilian food and Artisanal Gelato. Crain’s reports that MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary company is in talks to open their second location in the Meatpacking District at 33 9th Avenue (between 13th and 14th Streets).
On November 5th I was heading to Two Boots (201 West 11th at 7th Avenue) to grab a slice of jalapeno pizza for lunch when I was confronted by a large orange “SEIZED” for non-payment of taxes sign. Everyone who was walking by was equally shocked by this development, and commented how Two Boots had been there forever, and had been one of the local businesses that had weathered the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. A sign on the door and on the website assure customers that the closing is temporary. I spoke with someone at the original Two Boots on Avenue A, and they indicated that the store would re-open sometime in December. Fingers crossed! Just up the street at 108 Greenwich Avenue, Tea & Sympathy (108 Greenwich Avenue near Jane Street) is also facing financial hardship, and has set up a GoFundMe page. There, they explain: “We need your help! We have been holding on by the skin of our teeth for years now and with increasing rent prices, rental taxes and overall increases in the cost of doing business our little tea shop is in dire need of your support!” The owner, Nicky Perry, opened Tea & Sympathy in 1990, and later added the British grocery store Carry On Tea & Sympathy at 110 Greenwich Avenue and fish and chips shop A Salt and Battery at 112 Greenwich Avenue. As of November 19th, they had raised about a quarter of their $100,000 goal. MI-NE Sushi Totoya (496 6th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets), which opened in July 2016 and had been a full-service Japanese restaurant closed briefly and reopened as an annex for Japanese food store Dainobu next door: the store now carries prepared dishes and Japanese toiletries and household goods. Last month we reported on the opening of Naadam, a cashmere store on Bleecker Street and on their risqué goat ad. This month a reader wrote to us: “I was relieved to read in the WV that there were others who were offended by the inappropriate advertisement. I couldn’t figure out what two polar bears in a physical sexual position had anything to do with selling cashmere sweaters. Gratefully, the store has opened and the advertisement dissolved. Unfortunately, the advertisement has surfaced once again, at the local newspaper stand on 8th Avenue and West 12 Street” and in a later email, “To add more fuel to the fire, there is another advertisement located at the Abingdon Deli on the corner of 8th Avenue. It’s appalling.” Our reader did later speak to someone at Naadam and found out that the polar bears were actually goats, but this did little to mollify him.
We are able to report lots of opening and closings because you let us know what you have seen. Please keep the information flowing: you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by Darielle Smolian.