This month we observed a new phenomenon—some restaurants have decided to hibernate for the winter. It makes sense, since with the combination of temperatures plummeting and indoor dining banned, it’s not clear how much business there will be in the near future. There is no guarantee that those that are hibernating will actually re-open, but we remain optimistic that things will be better by spring.
We were also surprised by the number of openings this month (January and February have always been slow months), and we even spotted signs of some exciting things to come!
Stafili Wine Café – 796 Greenwich Street at the corner of West 12th Street
Bar Veloce opened its fourth location at this corner in January, 2018, and now three years later, Chris Lampadaris, who had worked for the Bar Veloce company for three years, has taken over the lease and will be opening a Greek wine bar and café on February 1 (Stafili means grape in Greek). Doors will open for breakfast at 10 AM with coffee and pastries. Later in the day, Greek wines, cheeses and cured meats will be on offer along with crepes and panini. Many of the products, such as the pastries and beer will be locally sourced. For now, there will be four tables set up on 12th Street.
Fireplace – 409 Bleecker Street between West 11th and Bank Streets
This concept store, which opened in the space recently vacated by Zadig & Voltaire, features clothing, artwork, home goods, decorations, and toys from independent brands. It was founded by a stylist, artist and journalist, and they are hoping to help designers, artisans and small businesses who are having a difficult time interacting with their customers during the pandemic. Fireplace offers personal styling on-site, as well as an option to Zoom with a stylist. We expect to see other businesses of this type, who might have been priced out of this area before, return to Bleecker Street now that some landlords are being more flexible with rent and lease length. Read more about Fireplace on page 23.
World’s Wurst (130 West Houston Street at Sullivan Street) is a new sausage spot with a strangely long menu spanning the globe. In addition to the more pedestrian options (bratwurst, hot dogs), there are bánh mì sausage sandwiches, a riff on a croque monsieur, Chicago Red Hots, and even chicken and waffles for brunch. Wine, beer and cocktails are also available (although the beer menu is not as long as you might think). Bleecker Trading (96 Christopher Street west of Bleecker Street) describes itself as a “trading card, collectible and memorabilia curator”. It also features indoor and outdoor event spaces, but those will probably not be widely used at the moment. Funny Face Bakery (280 Bleecker Street between 7th Avenue South and Morton Street) has opened a curbside pick-up location where Fish used to be. The bakery, which is best known for making custom personalized cookies (they have a number of cookie artists who work to recreate your photos on cookies) hopes to open to the public once dining restrictions are relaxed. For now, delivery is also available.
Finally, there are a number of companies that provide an alternative to self-storage—they pick up your items and store them, then deliver them back when you want them; MakeSpace (494 Sixth Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets) is one of these, and they have just opened a storefront where they will carry packing supplies, as well as providing quotes and advice on storage.
On Bleecker Street, clothing stores continue to close, with the two latest being Sandro (415 Bleecker Street) and Maje (417 Bleecker Street near Bank Street). Rowgatta (31 West 14th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) was a rowing inspired fitness studio, but now is not a great time for gyms with group classes, so not surprisingly it has closed.
There are signs up that Yucatan Kitchen (33 West 8th Street between 5th Avenue and MacDougal Street) is applying for a liquor license in the space where Ardyn used to be. In their application they state: “We are a fine dining establishment that aims to reintroduce the flavors of the Yucatan with Haute/modern cooking techniques. This combination will be further elevated by a world class Wine Program and exceptional service.” Sogno 85th (17 Perry Street at Waverly Place) is opening where Saturdays NYC, a surf shop + coffee bar used to operate. Sogno will be a combination espresso bar, boutique food market and wine bar. In their beer and wine license application they explain: “Sogno Toscano Inc. is a specialty food distribution company established in 2008 that serves over 4200 restaurants in the USA, supplying over 500 food products tailored for restaurants who want to use domestic and imported high quality ingredients. This first retail store will allow the final consumer to access the same high quality products we provide our customers in a relaxed and cozy Tuscan style environment.” As restaurants close and are less busy, we have previously observed this trend of food wholesalers selling directly to the public (Chef’s Warehouse, Baldor, etc.) Shopboy, a boutique tailor shop specializing in alterations and repairs will open at 102 Christopher Street (between Bleecker and Bedford Streets.
The following restaurants all have signs in their windows indicating that they will be closed for the moment: Wicked Jane (closed until things get better), Employees Only (closed for the season, will re-open when the time is right), The Loyal (closed until indoor dining returns), Clay Pot (will re-open in March).
Another pandemic trend is the rise of ghost kitchens which makes sense since with the ban on indoor dining, and the difficulties of outdoor dining in the winter, some restaurants have decided to pivot to delivery only. The Greenwich Social, a now-defunct food court at 74 5th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets appears to have become one of these ghost kitchens. If you look through delivery options in the neighborhood, a number of disparate ones all have that address. A partial list includes Bao Bae, Tender Bird, Pies and Vibes, Free Bird, Baoworks – NYC, the good egg, Glazed Hen Korean Fried Chicken – NYC, Crumb Cookies – NYC, and IN A JAR.
Please continue to let us know what you see. We love to hear from you! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org