This month we noticed a higher number of openings than during the colder months. A long-time Village bookstore returned, while another closed. Openings outnumbered closings on Bleecker Street, something that did not go unnoticed in a March 2019 article in The Commercial Observer which stated: “Bleecker Street retail has gone through several rapid changes in the last decade. Retail rents there grew quickly and unsustainably, and after a rash of high-end openings, the street was filled with vacant storefronts. More recently, landlords have begun to get realistic about pricing, and average asking rents on the Bleecker Street corridor fell from $468 per square foot in 2015 to $293 per square foot in 2018, according to the most recent retail report from the Real Estate Board of New York.”
Marie Blachère—301/303 6th Avenue between Bleecker and West 4th Streets
This is the second U.S. location for French bakery Boulangerie Marie Blachère; it has around 500 stores in France. Bread is front and center here, and the well-made baguettes can be ordered in three different degrees of doneness (Well-Cooked, Golden, and White). There are the usual Viennoiseries (croissants, pain au chocolat, etc.) as well as sandwiches, including croque monsieurs, made the right way with béchamel sauce. There are also cakes and tarts and coffee drinks. The interior is spare, with some seating available. The prices are reasonable, and there are buy 3, get one free promotions on many items. Everything in the store is 50% off in the last half hour before closing time.
Clay Pot—270 Bleecker Street at Morton Street
This restaurant, serving Bao Zai Fan, a Hong-Kong style rice dish cooked in a clay pot is the sister restaurant to well-liked Clay Pot at 58 St. Marks Place between First and Second Avenues which opened a little over a year ago. The rice is seasoned with ginger, scallions and soy sauce and then topped with a choice of proteins. The rice at the bottom of the pot becomes crispy like Persian tahdig. The space, which formerly housed Risotteria had a couple of short-lived tenants but has been mostly empty since Risotteria closed.
Zu Sik (202 West 14th Street near 6th Avenue) is a new Korean restaurant serving traditional Korean fare during the day, and more creative dishes in the evening. Zu means “Alcoholic Beverage” and Sik means “Food”, so it is not surprising that the restaurant has an ambitious spirits program. Ariccia (14 Bedford St., near Downing Street) is a panini spot that is run by the owners of nearby Italian restaurants Cotenna and Codeno. The space is tiny with one table and a couch. The panini come in three sizes (Piccolo, Medio and Grande) and all center around porchetta. Three Owls Market (800 Washington St. between Horatio and Gansevoort Streets) looks a bit like a bodega from the outside, and there is a small selection of dry goods in the front of the store. But the focus is on prepared foods such as cold picnic fried chicken and poached salmon, as well as a number of vegetable dishes. There are also breakfast sandwiches and egg dishes in the morning, and a “Rotisserie” section of the menu with chicken, roast beef, turkey and porchetta. Many of these are also featured in sandwiches. Dean and Deluca Stage has opened a bit north and east of Three Owls in the space that used to house Spice Market, and it also features a counter with prepared foods as well as pastries and coffee. But while Three Owls has a cosy vibe, Dean and Deluca is big and bright and spare-looking. There are two new clothing stores on Bleecker Street. Edon Manor (371 Bleecker Street between Charles and Perry Streets) features women’s fashion from high end designers such as Lanvin, Givenchy and Alexander Wang. The website describes the store as follows: “Designed to resemble an old English library, this quirky boutique aims to bring a distinctly British combination of tradition and eccentricity to the Big Apple. The stock is deliberately limited but never fails to offer all the trimmings of the season.” LoveShackFancy’s (390 Bleecker Street between Perry and West 11th Streets) storefront is adorned in flowers, and inside is a collection of flowery dresses with lots of lace and silk. Left Bank Books, a used bookstore that was in existence since 2005, moved to 17 Eighth Avenue (between 12th and Jane Streets) in 2010 and remained there until it closed in 2016. Now it has re-opened at a new location, 41 Perry Street (between West 4th Street and Waverly Place). The owners continued to sell their books on-line after they closed their physical location, but are now excited to have a new space to showcase their books, many of which are rare and expensive.
Barbuto, (775 Washington Street near West 12th Street) Jonathan Waxman’s popular Italian/California restaurant will close at the end of May. It had been a West Village staple since 2004. A few years ago the restaurant was slated to close, but it remained open. According to the New York Times, the building has been sold and the new owners do not want a restaurant on the ground floor. Waxman hopes to re-open in a new West Village location. Sherry B. dessert studio (643 Hudson Street between Horatio and Gansevoort Streets) opened almost exactly a year ago, but is now closed. I really enjoyed their make your own ice cream sandwiches where you could select your cookies and ice cream. Sometimes the cookies were warm which made the whole thing messier but even more delicious. A sign on the door says “Onto the next chapter… stay tuned for what’s next for Sherry B.” bookbook (266 Bleecker Street between Cornelia and Morton Streets) will close in May after 35 years in the neighborhood, according to the owners. The bookstore opened as the Biography Bookshop at 400 Bleecker Street in 1984, but changed its name and moved to its current location about 10 years ago. While the store’s lease was up and the rent was set to increase, the husband and wife owners decided to close the shop mostly because they were looking forward to a more relaxed life with plans for travel. They will occasionally sell books at the Abingdon Square Farmers’ Market and at the pickle stand on 6th Avenue near Carmine Street.
A banner at 6 West 14th Street (near 5th Avenue) announces Kopi2 my café. A little bit of research has led us to conclude that this is an offshoot of Kopi Kopi, an Indonesian café and restaurant on West 3rd Street which serves coffee from Indonesia, and a small menu of Indonesian dishes including nasi goreng (fried rice). Coffee barrels are already displayed in the window.
Many neighbors were upset when Doma Na Rohu closed, but a rumor started going around that it would re-open. Now in its place comes 27 Morton (27 ½ Morton Street at 7th Avenue South), a restaurant serving Central and Eastern European food. There is a new owner and chef, but many of the Doma Na Rohu favorites have returned (like spaetzle and sausages). Some other more Eastern European items like Acharuli (Georgian cheese boats) have been added. I recently spotted a sign on the door of shuttered Café Loup. It read: “Our Dear Café Loup Family, I am more sorry than y’all know that we have been forced out of our “home away from home,” our “local.” ‘Twas an extraordinary run (43 years)! Such a history! So much Love! So many secrets! So much laughter! We became victims of a despicable criminal (I have more class than to write his name here—sort of in the same vein I refuse to write or say the name of that “it” in the White House)!” It is signed “Ardes,” presumably Ardes Quinn, one of the owners, and I can only suppose the “despicable criminal” she refers to is Harry DeBari. I was sad when Two Boots closed on West 11th Street twice (it closed for non-payment of taxes, briefly re-opened, and closed again) and was not sanguine that it would re-open, even though a sign on the door promised that they were seeking a new West Village location. But recently I spotted Two Boots signage at 101 7th Ave South (near Grove Street) at the location that briefly housed the ill-conceived baked donut concept Holey Donuts! According to the sign, the pizzeria will open in July. The space has been empty since 2015.
Photos by Darielle Smolian.