1 Little West 12th Street (between Gansevoort Street and Ninth Avenue)
When I spoke to Harold Moore a few months ago about his just-opened French spot Bistro Pierre Lapin, he explained that French food had fallen from favor in New York but that recently it was making a comeback, following the neo bistro trend in Paris. Last month Intersect by Lexus opened on West 14th, and the first guest chef there is from the famous Paris restaurant Frenchie. Now, Encore has opened in the Meatpacking District with Jean Imbert as the chef. Imbert has run a restaurant in Paris called L’Acajou (Mahogany) for the last fifteen years, and in 2012 his popularity rose as he won the third season of Top Chef France. At Encore the menu has a number of bistro classics like “My Grandma’s Veal Blanquette” and a seafood platter, but like more modern bistros in France, there are updated versions of the classics and many of the dishes include Asian ingredients.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
61 9th Avenue (between 14th and 15th Streets)
The Reserve Roastery in New York is the company’s fourth location (the other three are in Seattle, Milan, and Shanghai). It’s quite different from other Starbucks: it is much larger, the pastries are from an Italian bakery called Princi, and the coffee bars offer coffee flights and different brewing methods. I tried the siphon method, where water in a glass globe, heated by a UV light, is forced up a tube into a glass bowl where coffee grounds are added, and once the brewing is finished, the coffee flows back down into the globe. There are roasting machines in the store, and the beans get carried along in tubes on the ceiling. The pastries were expensive but quite lovely, and around lunchtime focaccias with different toppings and sandwiches are offered. On a balcony, an attractive bar serves coffee-based cocktails.
Paris Baguette has opened a branch at 44 West 14th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) where they sell their French-style bakery products as well as sandwiches and salads. The company was started 20 years ago in Korea and now has over 3000 stores world-wide. Kilona Hand to Soul (378 Bleecker Street between Charles and Perry) sells hand-crafted products with a twist: instead of selling the same traditional products that have been made for generations, this company has hired designers who design updated products that are made using traditional methods, making it more likely that the items will be desirable to millennials. As they explain, they have switched their model from “ ‘selling what we produce’ to ‘producing what customers demand’ ”. Vietnamese restaurant The Pho 3 (152 7th Avenue South between Charles and Perry) has opened in the location where Akira, a longstanding Japanese restaurant used to be. This is the third of the Pho mini-chain, with the original on East 23rd, and Pho 2 on West 23rd. In addition to the eponymous Pho, there is vermicelli, banh mi sandwiches and tacos with Asian fillings. The KGB Spy Museum has opened at 245 West 14th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) and is focused on espionage operations carried out by the KGB, and apparently includes a collection of items used by KGB agents.
Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street near Bleecker Street) will be closing in January 2019, according to a press release from the restaurant. It opened in 1977, and the basement has been used as a performance space since the early 1980’s. The owner, Robin Hirsch, was quoted in a DNA Info article last year as saying “We’re sort of the last left standing of the Village’s Bohemian past.” According to Hirsch, his monthly rent was $450 a month back in 1977, but is now $33,000 a month. The Cornelia Street Café, along with other restaurants on Cornelia Street won a Village Award from The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) in 1998. Pasta Flyer (510 6th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets), the fast food restaurant by Mark Ladner of Del Posto fame, was barely open a year, but will be closing at the end of December. The dishes were mostly under $10, and the pasta tasted like something you’d eat at a much more expensive place. Two items recently added to the menu were among my favorites: a chicken parmigiana sandwich, and fettucine with shaved white truffles. The latter was $19, but well worth it. According to the staff, the lease is up, and rather than renew, the owner is looking to move farther north. Last month we reported that Two Boots (201 West 10th Street at 7th Avenue South) was seized by the Marshal for non-payment of taxes. A sign on the door promised that it would re-open soon, and it did! I was delighted and went in and spoke with the manager who gave me a cookie to welcome me back. A week later I headed over to grab a slice for lunch, and even from a distance I could see that the restaurant name was gone. A sign on the door thanked customers for their patronage and said that the hopefully the restaurant would be re-opening in the spring nearby, also on 7th Avenue South, with new management and ownership. Dell’Anima, at 38 Eighth Avenue (at Jane Street) closed at the end of December, with the owners citing the increasing rent as the reason for the closure. They later announced that they would be re-opening in Gotham West Market, taking over the counter formerly occupied by El Comado, the tapas spot, from the former Tertulia team. On their website, they explained: “This decision represents our ongoing commitment to delivering great food, drink and service, while adapting to the city’s ever-changing restaurant economy.” It is hard to imagine how the Italian restaurant and wine bar will look in its new incarnation. I had heard a couple of years ago from the owner of Rafelle that Doma Na Rohu, the small restaurant across the street at 27 ½ Morton Street (at 7th Avenue South) that served typical Austrian, German and Czech food such as spaetzle and sausages was struggling and would likely be closing, but it wasn’t until last month that it finally disappeared. Whole Green at 35 Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets was a juice and smoothie spot before they were as widespread and popular as they are now, but in early December they closed abruptly. Back in the 1990’s I enjoyed going to Dok Suni, a Korean restaurant in the East Village, and later, in 2000, the mother and daughter owners, Myung Ja Kwak and Jenny Kwak opened Do Hwa at 55 Carmine Street (near Bedford Street). It was a traditional Korean restaurant that had tables where you could grill your own meat. The lease has now come up for renewal, and the Kwaks have decided to close Do Hwa and instead open a restaurant in Park Slope.
La Fabrique (348 West 14th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) is a bakery from Stockholm, Sweden, where the bread and pastries are baked in a stone oven. There are also a number of locations in London. I am anticipating that they will also offer delicious kardemummabullars (cardamom buns), since in 2015 the Wall Street Journal tested a number of these pastries in Stockholm and found the ones at Fabrique to be the best. Ardyn (33 West 8th Street near Macdougal Street) will open in the space that briefly housed the downtown branch of the Burger Joint. The name is an alternative spelling of a forest in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and according to their website, it will be “a new American Restaurant where fresh ingredients are at the forefront of modern techniques.”
We received an email from a customer of Andy’s Deli (106 7th Avenue South between Christopher and Grove Streets) who was concerned that the deli would be closing because of rising rents. We spoke to an employee at the deli who said that the store had negotiated a new but expensive lease, and therefore would remain in business. I made several attempts to speak to Andy, the owner, but he was not at the store the times I tried. Barraca (81 Greenwich Ave at Bank Street), the tapas, sangria and paella spot from restaurateur Hector Sanz, which opened in 2012, and Macondo next door (2 Bank Street at Greenwich Avenue) which was also owned by Sanz, have signs in their respective windows saying they are temporarily closed for renovations, however, “For Rent” signs also in the windows suggest that the closings may not be temporary. A sister restaurant, Macondo East on East Houston Street closed about a year ago, and in 2015 Macondo and Barraca were seized for non-payment of taxes, however, they both eventually re-opened.
With the colder weather we are less inclined to walk around looking for openings and closings, so we are relying more than ever on your help! Please let us know what you see by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by Darielle Smolian.