After speaking with restaurant owners this month, we understand that West Village real estate is hot. Apparently, there’s already a bidding war going on for the Benny’s Burritos space that just hit the market. One unfortunate trend we’ve noticed is the opening of a number of tobacco/convenience stores, like the one that replaced Big Gay Ice Cream in Sheridan Square. Some Upper West Side and East Village businesses are spawning in the Village. As the weather warms up, West Villagers can celebrate spring in Paris with some new French openings.
Mino Brewery—225 West 12th Street (Greenwich Ave)
The space that was once Village Den has been completely transformed. The decor and cuisine are resolutely French. The two men behind the adventure are Yohann Pecheux and Gérald Barthélémy. Yohann grew up in Provence and worked as a dishwasher in the south of France when he was young. Yohann fell in love with the large storefront Café Minerva on West 4th Street, and when it closed, he and Gerald opened the St. Tropez Wine Bar in 2017 (they later opened a branch in Soho, too.) They loved it their West Village neighborhood, so when the Village Den space became available, they signed a lease there. After just five months, they opened the restaurant – a remarkable feat, but they were helped by an entrepreneur who was one of their clients in Saint-Tropez. In fact, they have a loyal clientele there who can’t wait to hang out with Mino, so the new spot has been packed since it opened in early March. The owners have obtained visas for two chefs from the south of France. The menu offers very classic brasserie dishes, some of which cannot be found in New York today. The homemade Pâté En Croûte is a great appetizer choice, while the decadent Filet De Boeuf Rossini with foie gras and truffles is worth a try. Most dishes are under $30, which is rare these days for a restaurant of this caliber, given the rampant inflation affecting food prices. The desserts all look tempting. The Profiteroles are well served, accompanied by chocolate sauce, and the surprising Pavlova Aux Marrons Meringue, Crème de Marrons and Marrons Glacés is not to be missed.
Barachou—15 8th Avenue (between West 12th and Jane Streets). This French bakery offers about a dozen different flavors of cream puffs (choux), including praline, tiramisu, passion fruit, lemon meringue, and dulce de leche. The pastries of the same name are small and cost $9 for three. There are also other delicious concoctions, including the elusive Paris Brest (two doughnut-shaped puffs with praline cream in between) as well as several other pies and cakes. This is the store’s second location (the first is on the Upper West Side).
Ramen Misoya—535 Hudson Street (entrance on Charles Street). Ramen Misoya opened its first location in the East Village in 2011, and it was the only ramen restaurant in New York to exclusively serve miso ramen. Their second location is likened to a speakeasy due to its hidden stair entrance. Although all broths are miso-based, there is still a lot of variation from dish to dish. The noodles are perfectly fluffy and some of the toppings are unusual, like the fried tofu. This is a very welcome addition to the Village’s ramen options. For more on the restaurant and the food, read Hannah Reimann’s review in the online edition of WestView News.
Madman Espresso & Bakery—332 Bleecker Street (between West 10th and Christopher Streets). At this new Madman Espresso location, you’ll find the same expertly brewed coffees available at the University Place store. There’s also a great selection of baked goods, including pizzas from the Sullivan Street Bakery, as well as savory and sweet pies, cookies, scones, cannelés and more. There is a nice little seating area outside with a few tables and chairs. Marco, the owner, admitted they had been hesitant whether or not to open this location, but the West Villagers will be glad they did.
Classic Arepas (31 West 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) is a fast-casual Venezuelan restaurant serving arepas, empanadas, tequeños (cheese fingers with or without guava) and more. So far online reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for both the food and the service. 7th Street Burger, (110 Macdougal Street) which already has a location in the East Village, offers the style of burger known as the “smash-burger”. The small menu offers five items: a cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger, an impossible burger, fries and Mexican coke. This late-night venue will no doubt be popular with NYU students. Paquita Tea and Coffee (242 West 10th Street between Hudson and Bleecker streets) is a teahouse with an extensive selection of unusual teas, as well as a tea room. The small space is decorated with crockery and tea paraphernalia, all available for purchase. This charming place opened quietly in the fall. Billing itself as the largest Star Wars fan exhibit, The Fans Strike Back® (526 6th Avenue) opened in the former Urban Outfitters space. Previously, a Banksy exhibition had taken up residence there.
Florence Prime Meat Market (5 Jones Street between West 4th and Bleecker Streets) is the latest iconic West Village business with plans to close. The 86-year-old butcher shop will be missed by loyal customers who came there for perfectly trimmed steaks and other cuts of meat. Their Newport steak was legendary and impressive. As an article in Saveur magazine describes: “Invented in the 1940s by master butcher Jack Ubaldi, Newport steaks are available only in one place: Florence Prime Meat Market in Manhattan, in the Ubaldi shop founded in 1936. Benny’s Burritos (113 Greenwich Avenue at Jane Street) closed abruptly after 34 years of serving burritos in the neighborhood. Some employees took to Nextdoor to ask if anyone knew of any restaurants that were hiring (many responded with suggestions.) Uncle Chop Chop (7 Cornelia Street between 6th Avenue and Bleecker Street) opened in 2018 with two owners Australians and an Australian chef. They offered innovative Asian cuisine, but at the start of the pandemic, officers came to the restaurant to investigate reports that they were violating COVID restrictions (eg, serving alcohol without food, not closing at 10 p.m. , etc.) and one of the owners told the agents that they would not respect them. The restaurant is now closed. The Daily Edited (385 Bleecker Street at Perry Street), an Australian retailer, sold leather goods such as wallets, bags and phone cases that could be monogrammed on the spot. It was the brand’s first and only US store, but it’s now gone. Their products are still available online. Taiwanese tea shop FIFTYLAN, fka KOI Tea (189 Bleecker Street at MacDougal Street) has closed its Washington Square location. The store may move nearby, but in the meantime, the Union Square location is still open. Many cafes have opened in recent months, but Gasoline Alley Coffee (310 West 14th between 7th and 8th Avenues) has closed. Yuco (33 West 8th Street off MacDougal Street), short for Yucateco Cocina, used to serve high regional Mexican cuisine from the Yucatan Peninsula in the former Ardyn space, but it’s now closed less than a year since it opened. Although it received critical acclaim, its high price tag ($95 to $225 tasting menus) likely hurt it. Fireplace (409 Bleecker Street between West 11th and Bank Streets) opened about a year ago and is now gone. This concept store offered clothing, art, homeware, decorations and toys from independent brands.
The legendary speakeasy Chumley’s (86 Bedford Street at Barrow Street) closed at the start of the pandemic, then never reopened. At one point an auction of the bar’s contents was announced, but after an outcry the auction was cancelled. Now, Pen and Frog Social Club plans to open in the space. According to their liquor license application, “We are a neighborhood restaurant that will serve the community with a full menu. The style of cooking is an upscale American tavern. Sadly, it looks like the end of a historic bar that opened in 1922. The Noortwyck (289 Bleecker Street at 7th Avenue South) is applying for a liquor license in the space that housed John Fraser’s American brewery, The Loyal. According to their article for Community Board 2, “The Noortwyk will be an elevated neighborhood restaurant focused on delicious food and warm hospitality. Our food will be seasonal and locally sourced. Modern Bread & Bagel opens on the north side of 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. It will be kosher and gluten-free (!) To achieve this, they will use ancient grains instead of wheat flour. There is already a location on the Upper West Side, as well as a nearby sister restaurant on Columbus Avenue, serving modern Israeli cuisine. Signs are installed at the former location of Barnes and Noble on 6th Avenue and West 8th Street announcing the arrival of Spectrum Cable. One of our readers pointed out that Barnes and Noble closed in 2012.
Jekyll and Hyde (91 7th Avenue South between Barrow and Grove Streets) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy according to Bloomberg. The outlet said it owed about $7.5 million to creditors, including $1.5 million in back rent. The pandemic must have hit them hard as they were popular with tourists, and also as a place to party. It was the original location and only remaining location of the horror-themed restaurant which opened in 1991. Green Apple Cleaners (119 Greenwich Avenue between Jane and Horatio Streets) has a sign in the window : “After 14 years of having a storefront on Greenwich Ave., unfortunately we are going to have to make our Greenwich Store virtual as our business never resumed in the age of Covid. They are still considering doing pick up and delivery Last month we announced the opening of El Condor (95 Greenwich Avenue between Bank and 12th Streets) Their ambitious food program was slowed down by their lack of gas, but instead of waiting they decided their spring seasonal menu is now available with beet bruschetta, bean toast and the unusual AB&J Club, the ultimate comfort food. wine and beer and prop dares an interesting selection of mainly American wines. For more on the food, please see Hannah Reimann’s review in the online edition of WestView News.
You’ve told us about many openings and closings this month, so thank you! But please keep up the good work. As always, we love hearing from you at [email protected]