RESTAURANT OPENINGS: EARTH CAFE, SUGARCANE

earth cafe2

Earth Cafe opened a couple of days ago in the former home of Blimpie’s on 97th street and Broadway. The cafe gets a lot of light and has a laid-back (almost Brooklyn!) vibe. The owners are also affiliated with a bistro called Why Not in the Village, a barista told us. There are baked goods and various kinds of coffee drinks, as you can see in the menu below (click on photos to enlarge).

The space previously occupied by Szechuan Gourmet on 98th and Broadway is now being transformed into a Vietnamese restaurant called Sugarcane. Construction appears to be going on inside. On the front door, there are two signs — one directing people to the other Szechuan Gourmet and another criticizing Szechuan Gourmet’s food. That second one appears to be a nasty prank. Thanks to Greg for the tip about the opening.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Jeff says:

      Oh wow this is funny – my wife was looking at the Szechuan Gourmet menu the other day and specifically said, ‘Um, stir-fried frogs?” Obviously a translation issue where what’s actually being served (frogs’ legs) would sound fine but the idea of entire frogs is repulsive.

    2. A says:

      here’s hoping we get a place with a killer bahn mi

    3. Jioe says:

      We already have a place with killer Vietnamese food – saiguette. Can’t compete with the best..

    4. webot says:

      Earth Cafe looks great.

      and replaces a not so great franchise operation (chain).

      Best of luck an may I suggest all you pining for the way it used to be, head up there and support them.

      • Michael says:

        Just found out that the Earth owner is also affiliated with Cibo e Vino on bway/89th. Now two wonderful establishments owned by some very lovely neighborhood locals!!!! Hope it’s a trend.

    5. Ms UWS says:

      Is “a laid-back (almost Brooklyn!) vibe” supposed to be a good thing? When I want a Brooklyn vibe, I go to Brooklyn. When I want UWS friendliness, I stay in my own neighborhood.

    6. Bill says:

      I walked by Sugarcane today and found out they had just opened. I was excited to see that there was Vietnamese now a block from me. When I opened the takeout menu I realized the menu had the same graphics and most of the same dishes that the now defunct Saigon Grill had on 91 and Amsterdam. When I asked about that they smiled knowingly and indicated there was some overlap of ownership or management. However, it appears that a lot, if not most of the staff is Chinese. I asked if the chef was Vietnamese, and the hostess said “yes.” I’m hopeful that whatever the overlap is between Saigon Grill’s ownership or management they will have learned from the mess they had with the delivery team’s union and will survive and thrive. I’m very hopeful the food will be just as good as Saigon Grill was. I share Jioe’s enthusiam for Saiguette, but this place has a larger menu with all the terrific lunch specials Saigon Grill had, and you can eat in. This is the space formerly occupied for decades by Hunan Balcony.

      • Bill says:

        Yesterday I spoke to a manager there, and he said it is a different company that owns this restaurant, but the chef is the same one they had at Saigon Grill. Their takeout menu appeared under my door this afternoon.

    7. SK says:

      Any intel on what’s going on with Academy Florist? There’s been a for rent sign in the window and a seizure notice on the door.

    8. Marcos Hardy says:

      Since Earth Café opened two blocks from where I live, I have been in it twice. The first time was uneventful, with good espresso and attentive and polite baristas.
      The second time was very unfortunate. There was only one gloomy barista and no clients at the counter. I ordered a double espresso for myself and a chai latte for my sitting companion. While the man was preparing my espresso a woman came and was greeted with smiles by the barista. He served me the espresso and told me I had to wait because “I will take care of her request before I prepare your chai.” I asked why. Both he and the woman looked at each other and sighed in unison. He prepared my chai and put it on the other side of the counter, well away from me, and in a very dismissive tone he said “here you are, you have to come and get it.” I asked why he was behaving in such an uncouth way and he said “this is where we serve the drinks, not directly to the client.” This in spite that he had served my espresso directly in front of me and he then served the drink of the woman directly in front of her.
      The espresso and the chai were fine and invited to return while the attitude of the surly barista said “stay away.” My only regret was that I tipped him before he displayed his disgraceful attitude.
      Two experiences, a normal one and a horrible one only says to me “return as long as the churlish barista is not there.” In the meantime I’ll continue to frequent Filicori, just a block away and with graceful baristas.

    9. joey castro says:

      I did not like the treatment that I got from your place. On the menu, the price of coffee is 2.15 or 2.50, but yet, I was charged 2.75. The coffee was not given to me; I had to walk around the counter to get it…not good hospitable treatment; I will never go to your inhospitable café again and I will warn others of your services!