A new Ollie’s Chinese restaurant is set to open on Broadway between 103rd and 104th streets, replacing a location that closed on 116th following a fire there. That one near Columbia wont be reopening because the lease is up, an employee noted.

Ollie’s also closed its location on 67th and Broadway after a fire there a few years ago, and one on 84th street closed a while back. The Ollie’s To Go on 89th remains open, but some Ollie’s devotees consider it a pale imitation. There’s also a connected restaurant called Hiro Sushi at Ollie’s at 160 Freedom Place. In 2010, the chain had filed for bankruptcy protection after being found in violation of labor laws.

Gothamist writer Rebecca Fishbein recently cited the Ollie’s closures in a piece lamenting the lack of good Chinese takeout in the neighborhood.

Here’s the chain’s origin story, as described in a New York magazine review of the 116th street location:

“Ollie’s came on the scene in 1989 as a collaboration between restaurateurs Artie Cutler (of Artie’s Delicatessen and Carmine’s fame), T. Wang of Taiwan, and Tommy Sze of Hong Kong. Their concept was simple and brilliant: Bring Chinatown-style food uptown to Morningside Heights and serve it in contemporary, chic settings. Hey presto, raging success. By 1996, there were four restaurants on or near Broadway in high-traffic areas like Times Square and Lincoln Center; in 2006, a Third Avenue location opened.”

Thanks to Elizabeth Lang, @varchibald, and Ernie Fritz for the tips.

FOOD, OPEN/CLOSED | 16 comments | permalink
    1. Gary says:

      Wonder how long it’ll be til this one burns down….

    2. Louise says:

      If you are looking for good Chinese food, consider trying Canteen82 on Columbus between 82nd and 83rd. It is one of my personal local favorites.

    3. Neal Hur says:

      I knew Artie Cutler…. Ollie’s at 116th St has been closed long time! What’s next

    4. Mary says:

      Another excellent option is Szechuan Garden on 104th, just off Broadway.
      Ollie’s never really had good Chinese food. It was just convenient. Unfortunately, the location up near Columbia was also less than clean. I believe they had a C grade, although they were careful to place a large plant pot in front of the anitary inspection sign.

      • WestSideAnth says:

        I’m glad you chose to mention Szechuan Garden on 104th. Once glance shows that it has a steady native Chinese population of young people (I assume from Columbia), and friends of mine from China tell me it is by far the most authentic Chinese food (I guess Szechuan) uptown. We love the place and consider it a local treasure (along with Abbey Pub right next door).

    5. SA_NYC says:

      Cottage on Amsterdam & 78th all the way. Dirt-cheap and free Franzia. ‘Nuff said.

      • Sue L says:

        The food at the Cottage is “perfectly” mediocre—dead glop!

        • adam says:

          I agree with Sue. The food there is garbage. The Cottage is a perfect example of how even our supposedly passable chinese food is not even moderately decent.

          The only place that approaches the old style chinese takeout on the UWS is King Food on amsterdam near 84th. Even then, barely so. But they are not on seamless which sucks

      • Zeus says:

        Years ago I had lunch at the Cottage.
        One hour later I was at my doctor’s office for a regular annual check up.
        My blood pressure was up in the stratosphere.
        Doctor was alarmed, asking if I ate anything very salty lately.
        I said, yes, at the Cottage, an hour before.
        Told me to come the next day again.
        The following day my pressure was its normal 117 over 80.
        The Cottage is cheap and tasty, but watch out for the salt content.

    6. Giulia says:

      This is a bad move for Ollie’s. I’m sorry, but it was always fairly mediocre. Now it has to compete with the much cheaper (and better) Xi’an Famous Foods two blocks away, several other local Asian places, and it won’t have a steady stream of students dropping in from across the street (trust me, I was a Columbia student, and they will NOT go over ten blocks south for Chinese).

    7. Shamir says:

      I never understood what the big deal with Ollie’s is.

      Every Ollie’s I’ve ever eaten at has bee very mediocre.

      the location of the old Ollie’s on 67th & B’way is still vacant. It’s a prime location but I guess businesses are reluctant to open there because of all the homeless who hang out in that indoor plaza.

    8. Neal Hurwitz says:

      Red Farm is the best and expensive… same with Shun Lee…

    9. John says:

      Is the Ollies on 42nd St off 9th Avenue connected to this group?