This month we continued to see an accelerating pace of openings, and only a few closings. According to some of the owners, lower rents allowed them to open in this area, something that would have been impossible before the pandemic. In May, The New York Times quoted a broker from Douglas Elliman Commercial who said that rents on Bleecker Street were about half of what they had been at their peak in 2016.
Sogno Toscano (17 Perry Street at 7th Avenue South) is a café, wine bar and market from a wholesaler of Tuscan products. In the last year or so, the company made a pandemic pivot and went from selling mainly to restaurants to selling directly to customers via their website. Now they have opened a retail store to showcase their products (such as olive oils, pastas, cheeses, salumi, and more). They are currently serving espresso, pastries and a light menu of cold dishes, and will start pouring wine in mid-August.
Les Trois Chevaux (283 West 12th Street at West 4th Street). Angie Mar has opened her first solo project next door to the Beatrice Inn where she was co-owner starting in 2016, when she purchased it from Graydon Carter. Beatrice Inn was modeled on a traditional New York chophouse, but the new restaurant takes its inspiration from French cuisine. Diners must order a $185 three course prix-fixe menu, and jackets are required for men.
Another wine bar has opened in the West Village this month: Temperance Wine Bar (40 Carmine Street, between Bleecker and Bedford Streets) took over the space where Carma Asian Tapas used to be. The new spot has a large list of wines by the glass, including lesser-known wines from countries like Cyprus and Lebanon. According to The Commercial Observer, Temperance Wine Bar signed a 10-year lease with an asking rent of $90 per square foot. Saint Theo’s (340 Bleecker Street, between West 10th and Christopher Streets) is the latest addition to Grand Tour Hospitality’s portfolio, opening in the old Manatus space. Grand Tour also operates American Bar and and is involved with the soon to re-open Café Clover. According to their website, their mission “is to create modern-day dining institutions that exude clubbiness without purposeful exclusivity, that showcase intellectual and referential design without pretension, and that tell an inspired and thoughtful culinary story while showing respect for the simplicity of quality ingredients.” The menu is described as Coastal Italian, and includes Cicchetti (Venetian-style small appetizers meant to be consumed with a drink) and lots of seafood. Nat’s on Bank (51 Bank Street at West 4th Street) opened where champagne bar The Riddler briefly existed. Nat is Natalie Freihon who was a co-owner of the Fat Radish, a British vegetable-forward restaurant on the Lower East Side which closed last August. The menu here is seafood-heavy, and the cheerful outdoor dining set-up on West 4th Street abuts St. Tropez and Café Cluny to the north making a mini restaurant row which will no doubt draw ire from some neighbors. If, like many during the pandemic, you’ve been drinking more and are looking to scale back, Boisson West Village (330 Bleecker Street near Christopher Street) might be a good option for you. While the store looks like a liquor store, everything inside is non-alcoholic. The website explains: “Quenching a curious thirst to balance mind and body, Boisson was born out of a love of mixology and a shared necessity of well-being.” Just up the street, Julietta Gelato Café (335 Bleecker Street between Christopher and West 10th Streets) has replaced Gran Gelato, and serves colorful gelatos and espresso drinks.
Village Den (225 West 12th Street at Greenwich Avenue), which “re-opened” in November 2018, has a sign on the door announcing that they are now closed. The new incarnation was nothing like the beloved diner that had inhabited the space for years: rather, it had morphed into a health-conscious café fronted by TV star Antoni Porowski of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame. In their note, they also thank their customers for helping them provide 10,000 meals to frontline workers at the height of the pandemic. The slice shop Slice Pizza (100 West 14th Street at 6th Avenue) has quietly shuttered.
We are trading one Italian import for another: gelato shop Grom closed all its New York stores, and now its former Bleecker Street location (233 Bleecker Street at Carmine Street) will be home to Venchi, an Italian chocolate shop. The first Venchi to open in New York is located near Union Square, and it boasts a chocolate waterfall. Before their chocolates were available here, I always made a point to stop at their store in Rome near the Pantheon and stock up on Cremino and Gianduiotti, both made with Piedmontese hazelnuts. The large space that housed Russian restaurant Onegin has been empty since February of 2019. Now, a banner in the window announces the arrival of Orangetheory Fitness, a gym which offers high intensity interval training workout classes. Flip Sigi moved from 525 Hudson Street (between West 10th and Charles Streets) to its present location on 7th Avenue South in December, and now their old space is slated to become a restaurant called Bird Dog which will serve “Italian with a Southern Drawl” Their Instagram shows pasta dishes, southern dishes (ribs, fried chicken), and even middle eastern dishes. Executive Chef Brian Cartenuto is a Florida native who is also the executive chef at nearby While We Were Young and operates a couple of restaurants in Florida.
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