RUMORMONGERING: A NEW TRADER JOE’S AND A ROBERT DE NIRO RESTAURANT

cafe mozart
Will De Niro open a restaurant here? That’s the rumor…

We tend to like to check out tips before posting them. But sometimes the truth proves elusive, or we get lazy and want help. So we’re posting a couple of rumors we’ve heard recently below and we encourage anyone with more information to come out of the woodwork and divulge the real story.

So yes, we’re rumormongering, but it’s fun and we’re confident no one’s feelings will get hurt. Below each rumor, we’ll post our guesstimate of how likely each rumor is of being true.

1. The Trader Joe’s rumor

We have heard from two people that a Trader Joe’s is opening a new location in the West 90’s. One said he heard in his elevator at a building on 92nd that it would be going into the commercial development under construction on Columbus between 92nd and 93rd (we’ve also heard a Bed, Bath & Beyond rumor about that block. Party City is expected to move in too.). Another person in a separate building in the 90’s also heard this rumor in the elevator. Are there people just spreading rumors in elevators these days, or are elevators where all of the best-placed sources hang out? The basis of this rumor is unclear, and Trader Joe’s never ever confirms or denies where it will be opening a new location. We have been sniffing around to find out more, but so far have gotten no clues. If anyone has a solid lead, pass it along (or tell someone in the elevator)!

Chances of this actually happening: 10%. I so want this to be true, but as George Costanza said “God would never let me be happy.” TJ’s on 72nd is close enough that it’s hard to imagine they’d open a second location so close by when other neighborhoods in New York don’t even have one.

2. The Robert De Niro/Cafe Mozart rumor

Two tipsters tell us that Robert De Niro has looked at renting the space formerly occupied by Cafe Mozart at 154 West 70th street. We got one tip secondhand (friend of a friend). This person said DeNiro would be opening a restaurant there. A firsthand source, however, says it’s not likely as De Niro just looked once and hasn’t been back. In any case, it looks like something’s going into the space, which Cafe Mozart vacated in 2008. There’s lots of construction materials inside. A broker marketing the space did not respond to questions about the space.

Chances of this actually happening: 20%. De Niro has a place nearby (where there was a fire a couple of years ago) and is now renting out Alex Rodriguez’s old pad at 15 Central Park West. He’d do well up here, and that space is in a great spot. Even if it’s not a De Niro restaurant, we’d put up even money that some eatery will open there in the next 12 months.

If you’ve got any solid evidence on either of these issues, let us know be emailing info at westsiderag dot com.

Thanks to all our tipsters. Keep ’em coming!

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Hawk says:

      I think most of this ‘elevator talk’ is from real estate agents trying to sell units in nearby buildings.

      I wish TJs would move in there, but I would put the chance at less than 1%. Party City is still most likely, but that doesn’t sell condos. My guess is that it will be empty for awhile.

    2. Lisa says:

      Does anyone know why the Cafe Mozart space was vacant for so many years?

      • Sean says:

        Mozart wouldn’t sign off on any deal?

      • TG says:

        Yeah, the Cafe Mozart space is a bit of a mystery. They demolished the entryway steps before that place closed, rebuilt them, then demolished them again when it closed, and it sat there for years with no stairs. I have no idea what would cause that.

    3. Lucien Desar says:

      There can definitely be another Trader Joes. The one on 72nd street is packed and it usually takes @15 minutes to get through the line (or more) .

      I am still going on my mantra that there needs to be a Food Co-op on the UWS.

      • JD says:

        TJ’s need a major redesign at 72nd street. It’s the worst designed store I’ve ever been to. The line needs to be somehow separate from the merchandise.

        • Upper West Side Wally says:

          One of the most brilliant marketing/selling points: make people stand in line next to your merchandise!

        • Jeff says:

          I actually like the placement of the line at TJ’s. I wait to grab cheese and veggies until getting in line, which saves a lot of time. If everyone did this, things wouldn’t feel so chaotic.

          • Cato says:

            Unless, of course, you’re the person *behind* the person who got on line, and then ran off to grab this item or that item — holding up the line while you do your shopping.

            All too often I am that person, having done my shopping before getting on line, who has to stand there watching the line advance while your cart or basket, sitting stationary on the floor in front of me while you’re off doing your shopping, keeps me from getting checked out. (And of course the gap between your cart or basket and the advancing line in front of it just invites others to jump in to fill the gap.)

            You’re being thoughtless. Please finish your shopping before getting on the check-out line so you don’t delay the rest of us on line while you shop.

            • Paul RL says:

              Cato, just step over their basket while they’re gone. That’s what I do.

            • Jeff says:

              Yeah, I mean, step over it or be nice and push it forward. That’s what everyone does – never seen someone just stand there helplessly behind a basket/cart whose owner stepped away.

            • John says:

              “You’re being thoughtless. Please finish your shopping before getting on the check-out line so you don’t delay the rest of us on line while you shop.”

              No one is truly being “delayed” by the person quickly grabbing items as the two lines march slowly forward toward checkout. You will leave the store exactly the same time whether or not people pause along the way to grab an item. If the person in front of me politely acknowledges me in some small way (a look is enough, perhaps a word), I am perfectly happy to let them grab that nearby item, and if they take a little longer, so what: I gently kick their cart or basket a little bit, and we’re all happy. There are plenty of times I either realize I’ve forgotten an item which is en route (i.e. in grabbing distance from the line), or else have strategically planned my shopping around those items I know I can grab along the way, and the good karma I put out by being nice to others who do this is repaid when I politely follow suit.

              In fact, when it’s extremely crowded at TJ’s, I think it’s quite annoying when people think they can squeeze through two sets of lines with their shopping cart to get the item they just as easily could have gotten while on line. Exception: if someone needs to test fruit etc, they have a right to interrupt the line or do what they have to do to deliberate — something they might not have time for while moving along the cue.

              I would agree that those who stretch the bounds of good will to take lengthy time away from their abandoned cart or basket — and do so without a by-your-leave from their immediate neighbors on line, are bad bad stinky winky no-good people.

    4. Melissa says:

      I’m more interested in what will go in the spot of the old Food Emporium at 68th and Broadway.

    5. kaz says:

      TJ on 72 is the busiest in the country but also the least profitable (high rent, wages , etc).
      Very unlikely that they open another one so close. It make the one on 72 less busy = not profit.

    6. Molly Gordy says:

      The Trader Joe’s at 72nd is so crowded there are lines outside the door to get in. They could easily be a hit uptown just from the overflow.

    7. Elizabeth says:

      I would be so happy to have a Trader Joe’s further north. It would relieve the constant crowds at the 72nd street store, impossible to find a time when the line is not so long, it is hard to get to produce. From Columbus to Broadway and from 90th to 72nd is also quite a long hike. 92nd would be good but 90th & Columbus even better. I do hope this “Rumour” is correct.

    8. Beth says:

      I would like to see Children’s Place open in the 90s on Columbus to replace the store that closed in the 70s on Broadway.

    9. JellyBean3 says:

      I hope this is true and not just a rumor. The split-level layout of the 72nd Street Trader Joe’s is terrible. Those big red shopping carts are way too big for a small market and make it more crowded. They have a great selection of frozen food and produce at good prices. I like the way they price produce so you know exactly how much it is- they price it per piece or per bag /container. This neighborhood needs more supermarkets- C-town on West 100th street was torn down and Food City on West 94th street closed.