This month we have been reflecting on how some shops and restaurants have managed to be successful in these very difficult times. One example of a business that is doing well in spite of challenges is Sullivan Street Bakery. As restaurants closed and tried to control costs, Sullivan Street Bakery saw orders from them decrease, which meant they needed to find alternate consumers for their products. In December, we reported that they had opened small shops on Bleecker Street and in the East Village. They were able to do this because of lower rents being offered in these areas, and also because they have a large production facility in Hell’s Kitchen where all the baking is done, so the little stores need minimal staffing. Now they have continued their expansion with a store on Sullivan Street, the street where the original bakery opened in 1994 (and remained there until 2000 when, after splitting with his business partner, founder Jim Lahey moved his operations to Hell’s Kitchen). Another story involving a small storefront and a central commissary is Biryani Kitchen. It opened at 48 Greenwich Avenue (between Charles and Perry Streets) a couple of months ago in the space where Oaxaca Taqueria used to be, and they have just opened a second location in Tribeca. It turns out that a company purchased all the locations of Oaxaca Taqueria (there are currently 10 around New York City), and with the restaurants came a central kitchen in Brooklyn. The Greenwich Avenue location of Oaxaca Taqueria turned into Rip’s Malt Shop, a short-lived vegan burger and ice-cream counter (which the owners admitted was a concept that needed a bit more work), and after that, re-opened as a storefront selling Biryanis (Indian rice pilafs) for pick-up or delivery. The cooking is done at the central kitchen, so here too staffing is minimal. The restaurant group has also opened a barbeque spot in Brooklyn called Underground Barbecue, and is planning to open up to three traditional taco spots called Revolution Tacos, as well as a pizza shop featuring a novel leavening method, and a wine bar. Finally, Miznon, the Israeli “everything in a pita” restaurant at Chelsea Market opened an upper west side location last year, and recently opened a shop in Hudson Yards. The menu of grabbable sandwiches lends itself to takeout and delivery, and by early afternoon many items are already sold out.
In December we saw an almost equal number of openings and closings. Now that indoor dining has once again been banned, we worry about how restaurants will survive the winter, but were cheered to see bundled up brave souls continuing to eat outdoors.
West Village Knit & Needle, a new shop selling yarn, knitting supplies and needlepoint thread and patterns has opened at 225 West 10th Street between Bleecker and Hudson Streets. In-person classes are being offered, either private or group, with the group classes limited to two people to allow social distancing. Amano Café, a new coffee spot has opened at 172 West 4th Street at the corner of Jones Street. The name refers to the fact that the coffee is harvested and selected by hand. The beans come from Latin America and are roasted in New York. Baked goods are also available. Misha Nonoo is a US-based British-Bahraini fashion designer, and has opened a retail flagship store at 654 Hudson Street (at Gansevoort Street). She previously sold direct to consumer. On the window is emblazoned the logo: Empowered Women. Empower Women. A new Starbucks has opened at 678 Hudson Street (between 13th and 14th Streets) in the old Papyrus space. This is noteworthy only because recently many Starbucks in the city have closed. Death by Pizza is open at the corner spot at 44 9th Avenue at 14th Street. In addition to pizza, sandwiches, pasta and some side dishes are on offer. The eponymous pizza is topped with spicy Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, crushed red pepper, and basil. Ubreakifix, the electronics repair chain has replaced travel store Flight 001 at 96 Greenwich Avenue between 12th and Jane Streets.
The Swedish candy store Sockerbit (89 Christopher Street between 7th Avenue and Bleecker Street) has closed. They featured a mind-blowing selection of licorice as well as other odd candies. Their products are still available online. We were very sad to hear that Fany Gerson will close her West Village paletas shop La Newyorkina (240 Sullivan Street near West 3rd Street) on January 10th. While she had expanded the offerings at her store, she still depended on a busy summer of paleta sales to sustain the business, and as she explained in an email to customers, this summer that did not happen due to the shutdown, and then the dearth of students and tourists once the shop re-opened. She had also been unable to come to an agreement with her landlord, something else she mentioned as a reason for the upcoming closure. Her paletas are still available for delivery, and she hopes to re-open at some point when the situation improves. Greek restaurant Voula at 9 Jones Street (between Bleecker and West 4th Streets) is now shuttered. A reader alerts us to the closure of longtime deli Bethel Gourmet Food at 79 Greenwich Avenue (between West 11th and Bank Streets). Another reader let us know that the news stand at Sheridan Square had also closed.
The Dame Supper Club pop-up which took over Abigail’s Kitchen (85 MacDougal Street just south of Bleecker Street) over the summer has morphed into Dame Deli and Bottle Shop for the winter. Fish and Chips and some other seafood offerings are still available on the weekends, and other provisions such as exotic fruits, pasta, herbs, beans, oil, rice, chocolates and condiments are available for purchase.
The UPS Store (480 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets), which has been doing a good business during the pandemic will be moving to larger quarters on the east side of 6th Avenue near 13th Street, where Greenwich Village Mail Center (formerly Mailboxes, etc.) used to be. I noticed that a number of people had posted positive comments on Nextdoor about La Peri Bakery at 104 West 14th Street near 6th Avenue. I have not been yet, but I looked at the menu and was surprised to see typical Turkish dishes such as Gozleme (savory stuffed crepes) and Simit (a Turkish bagel equivalent) that are not readily available in New York. Another Turkish establishment Gyroland, which is located around the corner at 519 6th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets, has also gotten positive reviews, and both seem to be owned by the same folks. Loring Place, Dan Kluger’s farm-to-table restaurant at 21 West 8th Street (between MacDougal Street and 5th Avenue) has spun off a to-go pizza service called Washington Squares. It serves the thick crust grandma style pies from Loring Place as well as a few salads and soup, and cookies and a sundae for dessert. While Umami Burger closed a while ago, I noticed a sign on the window demanding $470,446.41 in rent for the period from 2/20/19 to 12/31/20. Famous Joe’s Pizza is still around, but a nearby building had a sign demanding $267,272.52 in rent from them for the period from 4/1/2020 to 12/31/2020.
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