OPENINGS & CLOSINGS: JOSIE’S, SURA THAI, CAFE AMSTERDAM, FOOD EMPORIUM RUMOR

josies closed

One restaurant that caught the attention of the reviewers at Michelin and another that’s been around for more than 20 years, have closed.

Josie’s, the organic-focused American restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue and 74th street, has closed after more than 20 years. “We are running out of places to eat!” wrote Warren, who sent in the photo above. A sign on the door didn’t say why the restaurant had closed, and it’s not clear what will move in. Josie’s is adjacent to Citrus, which also closed a few months ago and will be replaced by a Mexican restaurant. Thanks to Warren and Melissa for the tips.

Sura Thai, on Broadway between 101st and 102nd street, has closed. Sura was very well-liked, from everything we’ve heard, and it was even called one of the best values on the Upper West Side by Michelin.

cafe amsterdamCafe Amsterdam is set to open soon at 929 Amsterdam Avenue, at 105th street. It will sell all the basic breakfast food and promises “much more.” Thanks to Anya for the tip and photo.

Lura, on Columbus between 106th and 107th street, has closed. The full restaurant, along with its two liquor licenses is now for rent, according to a broker’s notice on the door. Thanks to Daren for the tip.

Two tipsters have told us that the Food Emporium on 90th and Broadway is closing. One even said that a man advertising a rival supermarket was standing outside enticing Food Emporium’s customers! The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, the company that owns Food Emporium, has filed for bankruptcy and is closing some stores but a company rep said that the location on 90th and Broadway was not on the list of stores that ware closing. A store employee said they expected to find out more about their fate come December.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 64 comments | permalink
    1. Joe says:

      I don’t think that Food Emporium will be missed much. Certainly not by anyone who appreciates reasonable prices and courteous service.

      • lisa says:

        The Food Emporium was far from perfect but at the very least was convenient for those who lived nearby. If it closes, I know that my older relatives will have difficulty shopping for groceries.

      • oldbroad says:

        I’ll miss the Food Emporium because it’s the only place in the area that has a Municipal Credit Union ATM. If I use any other bank ATM I have to pay a fee, and that sucks!

      • $6Mil says:

        I can’t believe no one complains about Morton Williams on Columbus/58th. That store set the ‘low’ bar for customer service.

    2. Joe says:

      Sura Thai — never tried it. Wasn’t there long. Just another example of how food and retail on the East side of Broadway between 96th-110th Sts. turns over much faster than locations on the West side of Broadway.

      • liz says:

        It opened late summer 2008.

      • 24gotham says:

        Sura Thai was much better (and cleaner) than Sookk, one block north. Of course with 7 Thai restaurants within a seven block walk from Sura, there is a lot of competition.

        I am wonderig which of the three Thai places (Wondee Siam, Thai Market, and Spice) on Amsterdam between 107th/108th will be the first to close.

      • grandmasterbeta says:

        Sura was quite good – very consistent too. It will be missed.

    3. DMH says:

      Oh wow – I’m devastated about Josie’s. Like, lump in my throat. What a loss. This was my first go-to, favorite place ever since I moved to the city. How sad to see Josie’s go.

      • J says:

        We ate at Josie’s Saturday night, only to find out it was serving it’s last meal. I actually did shed a few tears. My go to place with many happy memories of celebrations. I will miss it tremendously. Their lease was up and the rentals enormous. They may open a place upstate but not in the city.

      • Cozmo says:

        agreed DMH. Josie’s will be greatly missed. They served “different and interesting” food way back when but soon became known for their organic simple delicious unpretentious fare. another sad restaurant casualty.

      • Kevin says:

        Crazy to see so many restaurants closed on just the block of 74/75 on Amsterdam.

      • Heidi says:

        I feel so sad about Josie’s closing such a nice restaurant good food

    4. Nora says:

      Josie’s is one of my favorite restaurants and will be missed a lot!

    5. Robbie says:

      Josie’s hits hard. Best burger on Seamless in the area.

    6. WombatNYC says:

      Sura was the best Thai on the upper west side for awhile until Thai Market opened on 107th and Amsterdam.
      Josies and Citrus were horribly overpriced.
      Stick a TJ’s into that Food Emporium space. This entire category of food stores should be removed from the city . Their time has passed. ( Food Emporium , Grestides, Dag’s etc ) .

      • dannyboy says:

        “This entire category of food stores should be removed from the city. Their time has passed. ( Food Emporium, Grestides, Dag’s etc ).”

        I need a supermarket to get meal ingredients.

        • DP says:

          Exactly. When I need 1 onion or dried oregano or just a couple of staples, I don’t want to stand in line behind 50 people who “need” their organic semi-crunchy peanut butter or hipster craft-brewed beer. TJ’s and Whole Foods are not supermarkets for us regular folks.

          • Sprinkles says:

            Barzini’s is one block away from that Food Emporium. Their produce prices are reasonable and they have just about everything, if you’re willing to dig a bit to find it.

      • Christina says:

        No Supermarkets time has NOT passed! But maybe your time has though!

      • caitlin says:

        To Wombat
        Respectfully….I can understand that you are not a fan of the Food Emporium, but why prescribe that it and other general supermarkets be “removed from the city?”
        I understand that the costs of real estate, changing demographics,and online shopping/delivery will ultimately determine what happens here. Nonetheless I am baffled about the recommendation to eliminate supermarkets that many people utilize?

    7. Screamingparrot says:

      This is so sad. They had reasonable priced organic food without that attitude.

    8. Sean says:

      Citrus was a hit with the folks from New Jersey. Josie’s really was not anything special. Maybe a bar will open and cater to the Beacon Theater crowd. Anyway the immediate area is not great for food.

    9. mlm says:

      I like Food Emporium on 90th street. I’ve been a customer for it and its predecessors for decades. And especially thought its personnel were courteous.

      • Young Sally says:

        Agreed. It is far from perfect, but the staff is usually quite helpful. I’ve noticed that a number of the regulars, like Gina, have left in recent weeks.

    10. ScooterStan says:

      Looking for good Thai food?

      Try LIME LEAF, an excellent Thai restaurant on W.72nd, south-side, btw. Amsterdam & Columbus.

      Good food, lovely staff, and even jazz on some evenings.

      • Dee says:

        Is that the same group from the Lime Leaf on 108th St. and Broadway? If so, I’m glad to know they survived! I always liked the food there.

    11. Bonnie says:

      The UWS has vacant shops everywhere. Depressing to walk the streets. I know that people are concerned about what they eat, but when Mickey D’s closes something isreally wrong!

      • neighbor says:

        McD closing is a welcome sign of changing times – quality of everything should be moving up, not down.
        WombatNYC is absolutely correct, the time of overpriced garbage stores is gone. Food Emporium, Gristedes etc. are MORE expensive than Whole Foods! I don’t know how they stay open in those huge spaces and pretty much no customers, and suspect that something “not good” is going on.

        • dannyboy says:

          wombat’s Comment #6 was responded to by DP (above). He explains why it is valuable to have supermarkets in the mix, along with specialty food stores, and the like.

    12. Mike says:

      First Green Leaf, now Food Emporium…. Please don’t make us shop at Dags! 😉

    13. Glen says:

      I am not the biggest fan of Food Emporium, but it’s vastly superior to Gristedes where the milk all has a three day expiration period. Further, when it had items on sale they could be a good buy. As for the courteousness of the staff, I ride the subway twice a day so I thought the staff was fine. But where else are we supposed to go? We all can’t schlep down to Fairway from the W90’s? The Key Food on 85/Amsterdam seems to be running at capacity.

      • neighbor says:

        West Side Market @ 97th is pretty good.
        Gristedes is a mystery. The chain looks like a pretty straightforward money laundering operation. Maybe time for investigation.

        • Dan says:

          If it was a money laundering operation, you’d think the grocery prices would be more reasonable? Meanwhile western beef has family ties to the Mafia. I shop at fairway, trader joes, and shop rite in nj. Not giving food emporium, gristedes, or western beef my business.

      • dannyboy says:

        Associated.

      • RF says:

        I suggest the West Side Market at 97th/Broadway. That’s the store I tend to frequent, despite living a few blocks from both Fairway and the (much smaller) West Side Market on 77th. It has all of the essentials and brand-name products that you can’t buy at Trader Joe’s, and it’s much cleaner and more affordable than Gristedes or Food Emporium.

    14. drg says:

      I agree. The Beacon theatre area is not good for food. The pickings around the Loews theatre on 68th are also quite paltry IMO, which is a shame.

      The west village has more really good and variety of restaurants in any 4 block radius than almost the whole UWS put together. I find the Lincoln center eateries very mediocre, and obviously the columbus circle places are stratospherically expensive. all of which is a shame.

      I assume this is unfixable…. and totally demographic, ie, high income singles go out a LOT more than the mixed age/race UWSiders.

      • Cato says:

        It’s kind of an academic question. If you’re not “high income singles”, or their cousins, ultra-high income families, you’re not going to be able to afford to live here much longer anyway.

    15. JDO says:

      Josie’s closing really hurts. Can somebody explain to me how it is better for the landlord to jack the rent up exponentially and have the property sit vacant for YEARS (examples of this all over the neighborhood) rather than negotiate a month-to-month or some other deal with the current tenant with the understanding that they have the right to kick them out as soon as they have somebody else ready to move in and pay the increased rent. Makes zero sense to me. Our neighborhood is turning into a wasteland.

    16. Colleen Wilson says:

      Are you aware that the Off Broadway Boutique (72nd Street, off Broadway) is closing? Owner, (Diva) Lynne Dell recently passed away, then her husband also died and their sons made the decision to “be done”. I live in Medicine Har, Alberta, Canada and have shopped there for 27 years. Store employee Pat was the amazing person that dressed me all those years. Truly an era in women’s fashion is gone from the UWS.

    17. bill says:

      was in food emp the other day, noticed parts of dairy shelf and several other aisle shelves were empty or near empty.

    18. Joe Rappaport says:

      I’m sorry to see Sura Thai and Josie’s go. Four Thai restaurants opened in this neighborhood at about the same time, and after a test taste I continually went back to Sura Thai. As for the Food Emporium, traditional grocery stores have a tough time of it because the margins are particularly low and they don’t seem particularly innovative. I hope it’s replaced by another market, because it does make a huge difference to have a market nearby, especially for older people, as lisa points out.

    19. lucette says:

      by the way if you have a groupon for lura you can call customer service and they will refund your money

    20. Marci says:

      I would miss the Food Emporium. I shop a combination of TJ’s, Fairway, West Side Market and Food Emporium to get the best quality and price. I love TJ’s, but I don’t want all Trader Joe’s products. I want the option to choose my brands. And the Food Emporium has better quality meats than all of those stores, and their lettuce is usually the best nearby. The store employees have been saying for awhile that they might, but the store is starting to feel like it’s on its last legs, and I for one, will mourn its loss.

    21. Marci says:

      I meant to say that the employees have been saying for awhile that the store might close…..

    22. Tom says:

      Fascinating article about empty storefronts in TriBeCa. This is a city wide problem that all NYrs are facing, not just UWS.

      http://tribecacitizen.com/2015/08/10/ghost-town/

    23. julie says:

      Josie’s was out go-to place. Their ginger grilled calamari was the best! So bummed.

    24. Robert Iulo says:

      The Food Emporium had friendly employees and a real butcher.

    25. Liz says:

      Man!! What a bummer!!Josie closed. Say it isn’t so.

      They were the best all around place where you could go with vegan and meat eaters and everybody would be happy.

    26. Todd says:

      There could be more than just rent behind Josie’s closing—first Josephine’s on Broadway around 64th closed, then Citrus, then Josie’s. Three related restaurants gone. Someone is retiring, lack or working capital, poor profit margins, something is going on.

    27. Ruth says:

      Very upset about Josie’s. Such an amazing go-to. Sadness.

    28. Joe says:

      I am so upset about Sura. Of the 7 Thai places in the immediate area, it was my favorite by far. And it was always crowded– I’m perplexed.. Also upset about Josie’s. It was a go to place for a nice healthy meal before the whole health trend kicked in.

      I do have to agree about the Food Emporium. I have long avoided it, Dags and Gristedes in favor of all the other options nearby (west side marketplace and garden of Eden for produce, associated for ordinary groceries, whole foods for dairy and other items, Trader Joes etc). The old overpriced grocery chains can’t hack it here anymore. Groceries have very low margins, and NYC rents are sky high — it’s a losing business model.

    29. Linda says:

      Sad news. I’m a regular at the 90th street food emporium. Having a regular supermarket so convenient is great for quick stops for last minute items as well as for stocking up on staples and I always find the store clean, selection good and the staff friendly. I hope it’s going to hold on.

    30. Employee says:

      While im sadden at the thought that the Food Emporium might close its doors for good, im more sadden that after 16 pluse years as a part-time employee have nothing to show for it. The Company has been very cruel to all of its employees,five years ago they mad a contract to where we the employees were to loose alot,we just sat there and let them stick it to us and now they are goin to close the store. When we truely dont know, while sad but true im goin to miss all my fellow coworkers and most off all the customers like June,David,Juliah,Ava,Christina and many more…..

    31. 95 in Shade says:

      What’s nice is having different kinds of stores to shop in. It’s about variety. I hadn’t gone into Food Emporium in a long time, but recently, when looking everywhere for a particular product, I finally found it in two places, Gristede’s and Food Emporium. And guess what? Food Emporium has the better price. Don’t be so quick to dismiss these old places, including those you may not think you have any use for.

    32. kayzie says:

      Josie’s IS NOT ADJACENT to Citrus. They are at least one block away from each other. Surely, in NYC, one block doesn’t count as “adjacent”.

      • Liz says:

        so while I realize the conversation has grown old it seems people are unaware that the city cuts landlords with vacant store front rentals huge tax breaks. a long-vacant store or restaurant is a win-win for everyone but the community! don’t be angry at the businesses, get mad at/protest the city! just imagine the impact changing that could have!?

        …and don’t get all radical on us and suggest the end of supermarkets in Manhattan! can’t we all just shop our preference and let live?

    33. Ted Hicks says:

      The Food Emporium on 90th and Broadway is definitely closing. They have signs on all the windows. Discounts up to 40% are advertised.