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.