This month we saw mostly closings, something that often happens in the winter, with five on Bleecker Street alone. Hopefully next month we will have happier news to report.
North Fork (122 Christopher Street and Bedford Street). This farm-to-table restaurant opened in the old Croman-owned Lima’s Taste space. I spoke with the Chef, Chris, who used to cook at Loring Place and Hudson Clearwater before. As one might imagine, the restaurant will, whenever possible, use products from the North Fork of Long Island. The menu is seasonal, so at the moment there are lots of root vegetables featured. There is also a section of the menu called “La Campagne” (the Country), but this is not a reference to country cooking such as fried chicken and comfort food, rather, that section features “seasonal farm-style game”. Interestingly, since it is so difficult to install gas in a timely fashion, the restaurant is all-electric. The restaurant is open for dinner and weekend brunch, and is BYOB while they wait for their liquor license to be approved.
Murray’s Mac & Cheese (254 Bleecker Street between Morton and Leroy Streets). Many news outlets reported that Murray’s Cheese was opening a fast-casual spot next door that would serve Mac & Cheese. What they did not report is that this is a 4 month pop-up which may be extended if the concept takes off. Murray’s Mac & Cheese is located in the old Amy’s Bread location, and offers a number of different preparations of Mac & Cheese as well as allowing customers to choose their own cheese and toppings. The dishes can be ordered in 4 sizes, the smallest of which is an 8 oz snack size with a base price of $5. All the dishes are made with radiatore pasta from local pasta maker Sfoglini. Radiatore pasta are round with ruffled edges, something that maximizes the surface area of the pasta and helps to trap the sauce. I tried the classic which is made with a secret blend of cheeses and then enhanced with cheddar, gruyere and fontina and finished with a crunchy topping and it was delicious.
Pig Bleecker (155 Bleecker Street at Thompson Street) announced on Instagram that it would be closing at the end of February. Their sister restaurant, Pig Beach, in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, recently expanded and remains open. When Pig Bleecker opened a little over two years ago, I was quite excited, but I thought the food in the end was a bit disappointing: it seemed to be a cross between Italian food and BBQ, and the union was a bit awkward. In addition, the prices were fairly expensive which was no doubt necessary to support the high rent. This corner has seen its share of closings—the previous tenant, Bark, a hot dog spot, closed after an even shorter tenure at that location. Nisi, the Greek restaurant at 302 Bleecker Street (between Grove and Barrow Streets) has abruptly closed. It was surprising to me, as it seemed reasonably busy, and in addition, Eater reported in October 2017 that the owner has plans to open at least three more Nisi locations in the city, as well as restaurants in Miami and Los Angeles. Nearby, Jachs New York (310 Bleecker Street between Grove and Barrow Streets) has closed after five years at that location. The brand was started 10 years ago by Hayati Banastey, a Turkish immigrant who is the son of a shirt maker there. The brand’s motto is “Great style should be effortless.” The clothing is still available online and in some department stores. The Bleecker Street branch of Variazioni (323 Bleecker Street, between Christopher and Grove Streets), a women’s clothing store which was founded in 1980, has a sign outside announcing “Closing this Location—Everything Must Go!” Many other locations remain open in Manhattan. Ikinari, the Japanese chain of stand-up steakhouses opened its first location in the United States in the East Village and then expanded rapidly. Now, most of the restaurant’s locations will be closing, including a fairly new one at 205 Bleecker Street (near 6th Avenue). Greenwich Steakhouse (62 Greenwich Avenue near Perry Street) is closed and a Marshal’s Legal Possession sign is displayed in the window. The restaurant served excellent steaks (the owner was the former head chef at Smith and Wollensky) and the space was comfortable and quiet, but the prices, while not high for a steakhouse, were high for the neighborhood, and the restaurant never seemed that busy. Twin spots Kut and Jean le Gourmand have suddenly closed. Jean Le Gourmand served nice and inexpensive crepes, and Kut served kebabs. They seemed like they might be a good addition to the neighborhood, but now the large space is empty again. Last month we reported that Onegin, the Russian restaurant at 391 6th Avenue between Waverly Place and West 8th Street appeared to be closed—this month we noticed a “For Rent” sign on the property, confirming its demise.
A WestView reader noticed activity at the long empty storefronts at 557 and 559 Hudson Street (between 11th and Perry Streets). Da Andrea was housed at 557 Hudson until it moved to West 13th Street in 2009, and later a tapas spot called Caliu occupied the space until 2013. Next door at 559, Peppe Verde served cheap Italian food for 15 years until it closed in 2013. Our reader spoke with some workmen who said the space was being combined and would reopen as a restaurant. Hudson Medical Wellness is coming to the short-lived An’s TaeKwonDo spot (162 7th Avenue South, near Perry Street). Juice and Joy is opening at 434 6th Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets. It will serve juice and organic coffee, and presumably smoothies as they are advertising for a “Smoothie Technician.” Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool is opening in the remaining part of the old Associated space (SLT, a gym, occupies the other part of the space). Bright Horizons runs over 1000 pre-schools worldwide. The large corner space at 136 Waverly Place (6th Avenue) has been empty since The Vitamin Shoppe closed years ago, but it is finally being renovated. Apparently some work needs to be completed to comply with Landmarks before a new tenant (which will be a bank) can move into the northern part of the space. The other part is still for rent.
Thank you so much for your continued help with tips. Don’t stop now! Please email us your observations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos by Darielle Smolian.