OPENINGS & CLOSINGS: HARRY’S BURRITOS, RADIO SHACK, PLOWSHARES COFFEE

harrys burritos

A 27-year-old Mexican restaurant is going away as new electronics and coffee come into our lives.

Harry’s Burritos on the corner of 71st street and Columbus is expected to close by the end of the year, as competition and costs rise. Harry’s has been making West-Coast style burritos since 1987, and serving margaritas at its bar. Said the owner: “I would say that our traffic has been pretty consistent for the past four [or] five years, but that’s a problem. With rising costs, you need more business. It’s just the way things are going.”

radio shack6The new Radio Shack is open on Broadway between 96th and 97th street, even as a Radio Shack on 94th and Broadway closes. It’s apparently one of the “new concept” stores with bright lights and fancy gadgets instead of sad carpeting and outmoded equipment. Thanks to Paul for the tip and photo.

Plowshares Coffee, a Rockland County coffee roasting company, has also opened its doors to its first cafe on Broadway between 104th and 105th street, the former home of a Juice Generation. One tipster enjoyed her cuppa joe: “I went in there today for a nice cup of coffee. The staff was very nice, and they appear to have an excellent espresso machine and a barista who can create very pretty latte art. Nice to see a real coffee shop open in the neighborhood.”

Maybe it’s just Instagram, but this picture sure makes the place look cozy:

A photo posted by Sadie Drazewski (@sadiesomethin) on

 

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 25 comments | permalink
    1. David Collins says:

      My gut feeling is that the “problem” with Harry’s Burritos is that it barely had much business Mon-Fri lunch and when it did have business the ticket per meal was not high enough. Of course having a healthy business or not seems to matter little when a few block up Starbucks agreed to pay more than $55,000 a month in rent alone for its 2,400 sqft space. With rent needing to be around one week’s worth of gross income, the only types of businesses that will be able to pay these rents are going to be chains like Starbucks, Chiplote, Bank of America, Lululemon or Apple.

      • Bootes says:

        Their location in Larchmont is already closed. Their problem, from what I’ve experienced, is that the food was just terrible…

    2. steveo says:

      I worked at Benny’s in the 1990s (Benny’s was owned by 3 partners, Harry’s by 2… if I remember correctly). It was an hour and a half wait on the weekend. There was nothing else like it in New York, just easy fresh mexican food. But now, with chipotle and all the rest, decent mexican food is too easy to come by. The last few years they’ve changed the menu for the worse, and it got awful. Too bad.

    3. Steen says:

      I agree about Ploughshares. The coffee is very good and it is nice to have a warm, quiet coffee shop in the hood. Plus, if you stay, they put your coffee in a ceramic cup. I firmly believe it tastes even better that way.

    4. B.W. says:

      The problem with Harry’s Burritos was the food quality was just awful. There are 100 better places for cheap Mexican food in the UWS.

      • Doug G. says:

        Agreed. I always wanted to like Harry’s, but their burrito just didn’t pull it’s weight, and was too expensive.

      • Mike says:

        Please share the name of 50 of those. Chipotle doesn’t count, and the little place that took over Rigoletto’s space on Columbus is hardly much of a restaurant and has no bar (although the food is fine). Those aside, between 59th and 79th there are no friendly Mexican options where you can sit and have a dinner for 2 with a couple of drinks for less than $100.

        • Paul says:

          100 more Mexican restaurants with a good burrito? Give me 10. I’m from California, been looking for good Mexican food since I moved here 15 years ago. I’ve found one.

      • RK says:

        Obviously 100 is an exaggeration. But there are plenty.

        http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/upper-west-side/all-neighborhoods/mexican/

        My favorite is Gabriela’s. For delivery further south, Great Burrito. When I’m feeling cheap, one of the chinese-owned ones (Fresco Tortilla et al)

        My only experience with “San Francisco style” burritos is Harry’s/Benny’s and I’ve never liked them. Rice is underseasoned, beans are criminally flavorless, remaining fillings aren’t enough to justify price.

    5. Andy says:

      Plowshares – the espresso is teriffic, and don’t miss the pourover coffees. And the freshly roasted coffee itself.

      • Rhonda says:

        Really? I’ll give it another try. I got an espresso there that was horrible. I tossed it. Hope it was just an off cup.

    6. Tom D says:

      Stopped by the Plowshare on Saturday. The latte was good, but overpriced given their proximity to you-now-who two blocks away, or even Oren’s up at 112th.

      • Tom D says:

        Forgot to say, that photo makes Plowshares look a little warmer than it felt to me. The wall on the left is big, white and empty. Some sort of artwork would easily fix that.

    7. RF says:

      Who is keeping all of these Radio Shack stores in business?? I live right near one of the fancy “concept” stores and walk by multiple times per day–other than employees there is NEVER anyone inside, yet they keep opening more locations. I don’t get it.

    8. LPK says:

      My son has been coming here since he could eat solids. We were about to celebrate his eighth birthday next month with a trip to his beloved Harry’s. He will be devastated by the news. The chill kitschy vibe, the film of dust over the tchotchkes, piped in 70s soundtrack all add to its enduring charm. Yes, there’s better Tex-Mex beyond Harry’s but you cannot get the Harry’s experience anywhere else. We are so sad to see it go!

      • Violet says:

        Tchotchkes, ok. A film of dust over the tchotchkes? Please tell me that’s not something you find endearing in a restaurant….

    9. Sherman says:

      It’s sad that Harry’s Burritos is going out of business. I’ve been eating there for years and my son loves the place. HB had a quirky charm that you don’t find in too many places on the UWS these days.

      OK, I’ve had better Tex-Mex elsewhere. But once you drown HB’s food in hot sauce it wasn’t too bad.

    10. John says:

      Harry’s bar area was way too small to be a viable place to go and grab drinks with friends. The food was also really subpar (maybe the worst nachos I’ve ever had). And for bad Mexican food, it was way overpriced.

      Drinks were solid, but again, impossible to actually sit down and enjoy one at the bar.

    11. Lucien Desar says:

      I am seeing a good trend of more coffee shops opening on the UWS.

    12. Cato says:

      Welcome to Plowshares; always happy to see a non-chain open. “[N]ice cup of coffee” — great! “[V]ery pretty latte art” — skeptical.

    13. DH says:

      Stopped going into HB after I was served a burrtio with a hair in it. Hairy’s Burritos will not be missed. Great space, bad food, sorry for their employees.

    14. Anon. says:

      Worked at Harrys for 3 years. Let’s just say anyone that worked there isn’t even remotely surprised that they’re closing. Owner was more concerned with maintaining his year-round Orange-Glo tan than actually taking the time to maintain a restaurant. Working there was close to torture and yeah, the food wasn’t that great.

      True story: one night as we were closing, a street rat ran into the bar area and we never found it.

    15. Monica Penders says:

      Oh, Harry’s shutting down! That is the end of an era. Thanks Harry’s team for making my time in New York (17 years) very very special. I miss your grilled chicken mango burritos and your buckets of margaritas. A very sad day.

    16. Burton says:

      Last open day is 12/6.

    17. catherine miller says:

      Well I for one am not surprised it closed. I actually hadn’t eaten there before, due to my very busy schedule, but I had always wanted to go there. I LOVE mexican food! I finally had a chance to go and boy was I soooo disappointing. I mean really, how does one get mexican food wrong? Thei’r guac had no flavor AT ALL, flavored water had more flavor then their guac., and the same goes for the tacos and nachos (I MEAN REALLY YOU CAN’T EVEN MAKE NACHOS?). $20.00 lost. I don’t know if their food was always this bland or bad but you can’t expect to survive with blah food and a bar. So to blame it on rent (yes rent is high here but if you make a good quality food, peoeple will follow…and your revenue will follow. hence you pay rent.), or Starbuck etc. is false. You start cutting corners people will notice. I for one won’t spend my money on poor quality food.