As usual, July was a quiet month. Two spots opened that are not what they seem, and there was also activity in French and Italian establishments.
L’Accolade Natural Wine and Neo Bistrot—302 Bleecker Street at Barrow Street. It seems like every wine list now touts natural wines, but this French spot which replaced Greek restaurant Nisi serves exclusively natural wines. The philosophy behind natural wines is to let the quality of the grapes shine through without too much intervention. Therefore, no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers are used, and indigenous yeast is involved in the fermentation which often takes longer as a result. The French owners also operate a restaurant in Marseilles called Bistrot La Parenthèse. The small menu offers some classic French appetizers, and two prix fixe menus are available with either two or three courses.
Red Paper Clip – 120 Christopher Street between Bleecker and Bedford Streets. Red Paper Clip (RPC) opened in the old Pho Sure space in one of the mostly empty Croman buildings on Christopher Street. There is not much in the way of décor, and the menu is unusual with Asian accents, not surprising since the chefs are Chinese (American) and Himalayan. They met when they were cooking at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and both have done stints at a number of renowned restaurants around the US and the world. With North Fork at the corner of Bedford, Red Paper Clip a few doors down, and Fiaschetteria Pistoia at 114 Christopher, this sad stretch is finally showing some signs of life.
I was quite excited when I stumbled on Posh Pop Bakeshop (192 Bleecker Street between 6th Avenue and Macdougal Street) as it looked like an old-fashioned bakery with layer cakes, cinnamon rolls, cake pops and more! But when I looked more closely, I realized that everything is gluten-free, and some things are dairy-free and vegan as well. Similarly, Rip’s Malt Shop (48 Greenwich Avenue between Charles and Perry Streets) looks like a regular burger and ice-cream counter, but everything served there is vegan, including the burgers and hot dogs. The ice cream is made with coconut cream and cashews. Ba Neul Tattoo has opened at 65 West 8th Street where a branch of Vivi Bubble Tea used to be. On the door is the following poetic exhortation: “You are my canvas/Give me a piece of your skin/I will give you a part of my soul/Right now.”
Bistro Pierre Lapin (99 Bank Street at Greenwich Street) has abruptly shuttered. Chef Harold Moore announced the closing on Instagram. He said that rising costs and fewer customers forced his hand. I am very sorry to see it go—he is a talented chef, the French food was delicious, and the restaurant was lovely and comfortable with a very friendly and helpful staff. Harold, his seasonal American restaurant in the Arlo Hotel remains open. Dean & DeLuca Stage (29 9th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets), the fast-casual spot which had opened in the Meatpacking District in April has already closed. The company is apparently facing financial challenges and has also closed their Upper East Side grocery store.
With Small Door Veterinary opening at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 12th Street, and Nordstrom Local coming next door, only the storefront at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 11th Street remains empty in the Greenwich Lane development on the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. But it appears that Starbucks is applying for a liquor license at that location, and according to the New York State Liquor Authority website, the space will house a Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Before Fairfax opened at 234 West 4th Street (at West 10th Street), Gabe Stuhlman operated his Italian restaurant Perla at that location. But Perla was at 24 Minetta Lane (near 6th Avenue) when it opened in 2012, and Pete Wells wrote a glowing review in the New York Times, saying that the chef, Michael Toscano, “provides a thrill at Perla.” After Perla moved in 2016, the space on Minetta Lane remained empty. Now, Michael Toscano and his wife Caitlin have plans to open an Italian restaurant named Toscano at the original Perla spot. According to their application to the State Liquor Authority, Toscano will be a “full-service, fine-dining modern Italian restaurant that will focus on serving the finest food, wine and spirits that represent the regional cuisine of Italy.” The pair have been operating a restaurant in Charleston, SC called Le Farfalle Osteria which they will continue to run. Solaro, another Italian restaurant, this one describing itself as “bistro-style,” is coming to the Village to 13 Carmine Street (at 6th Avenue) where short-lived Venetian restaurant Giulietta’s Cantina Club used to be.
Bantam Bagels (283 Bleecker Street between Jones and Barrow Streets), which sold tiny stuffed bagel bites has closed but a sign on the door promises a return. Pretties, a Los Angeles based lingerie shop, is featuring a pop-up at 66 Greenwich Avenue (near 7th Avenue) where previously lingerie store The Great Eros used to be. The pop-up will be there until the end of September and carries their “Original Baby Tees” which are tight-fitting, French-cut tees. French bakery Marie Blachère (301 6th Avenue near Bleecker Street) was briefly shuttered by the Board of Health, but it has now re-opened.
Photos by Darielle Smolian.