OPENINGS & CLOSINGS: MOTORINO, ORWASHER’S, ROSLYN, MODERN DAY OPTX

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Owner Matthieu Palombino and General Manager John Lopez stand in front of Motorino.

A new pizza spot, a bakery, and a high-end glasses shop have opened on the Upper West Side.

Pizza restaurant Motorino opened on Thursday at 5 p.m. at 510 Columbus Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets for its first dinner service. Owner Matthieu Palombino told us he’s getting a great vibe from the community. They’ll be serving dinner this week and plan to introduce lunch next week. There are 28 seats in the space and one very cool-looking oven.

Orwasher’s Bakery is open at 81st and Amsterdam, and we’ve already seen quite a buzz inside. But we’re also hearing complaints about the prices, including this lament: “$13.50 for a tuna on a third of a baguette! Last sandwich I’ll buy there!”

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Jewelry store Roslyn at 73rd and Columbus has closed its doors for good, after holding out for about a month longer than expected. The owner posted a sign with pictures thanking the community.

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Modern Day OptX has opened at 575 Columbus Avenue (88th Street). It’s a high-end optical store with frames for all ages from around the world.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 52 comments | permalink
    1. Elbot says:

      Orwasher’s bread prices are stunning. Higher than the top NYC bread bakeries like She-Wolf, Arcade, Great Northern, High St on Hudson, etc. And the quality is better than supermarket but certainly not up to top bakery standards.

      • Kenneth says:

        So it’s simple, dont be a customer.

      • jerry carroll says:

        What a disappointment. Love the Orwasher’s on the UES and was eagerly awaiting its UWS cousin. Well, it’s not off to a good start. The salt sticks had virtually no salt and were overbaked to a shade just shy of mahogany (I should have looked before the clerk bagged ’em). The jelly donut had a thin to the point of skimpy filling, the girl who checked me out was preparing some unpleasant appearing sandwich while she took my money and the music was blaring to beat the band. Looks like it’s back to the good ol’ M79.

      • Peter Gittlin says:

        When your purchasing bread – sandwiches etc. in a new store in NYC you pay more because the store is paying enormous rents and has tons of other expenses to pay just to cover their daily overhead.

        And each year the store has to pay a proportional share of the increase the landlord receives from the city in Real Estate taxes. The city causes inflation every year by raising real estate taxes that are frequently passed on to the consumer. It’s very difficult for any small restaurant / bakery to survive in NYC even when charging seemingly high prices.

        • Anthony says:

          That doesn’t make a lot of sense – other than startup costs, why would things cost so much more at a new store vs. an existing store? If a store is charging way above market for a product that is not differentiable from other lower priced products, it will likely not survive. Though that general economic rule often gets violated here in NYC where people think paying more for something is a status symbol.

        • dannyboy says:

          good argument for Commercial Rent Regulation.

          • stevieboy says:

            You obviously know very very little about the commercial real estate business, how leases are structured and certainly why landlords prefer national chain tenants over Mom/Pop, who need to retire already.:)

            If I wasn’t so busy I might think about explaining a few things to you all but you know…I really don’t care that much. I know why and that’s enough…but by all means keep complaining to each other…hahaha

            Trust me, there will be more of the same high-end stuff coming…just wait

            • dannyboy says:

              “If I wasn’t so busy I might think about explaining a few things to you all but you know…I really don’t care that much. I know why and that’s enough…but by all means keep complaining to each other…hahaha” – stevieboy

              I couldn’t even imagine a commenter OFFENDING EVERYBODY, but you managed to do it. Truly offensive.

              Did i mention offensive?

          • B.B. says:

            Because rent control laws have worked so well for NYC they should be expanded to the only remaining “free” rental property market?

        • Kindly Dr. Dave says:

          Landlord Greed is the cancer of the Upper West Side. They will Eat all of the substance we all value from the neighborhood. Let’s just disappear, if we value culture, neighborliness, friendship, sharing, working together, etc. Let the bloodless landlords continue to milk the 1%…..until, of course, they understand.

        • Sprinkles says:

          Yeah, but customers aren’t running a charity. If they don’t think what they’re getting is worth the price, they’re under no obligation to buy food there. I have no interest in a small sandwich for $13.50, so I’m clearly not their target market. I’m simply not going to spend money there. I have nothing to feel guilty about if they go out of business, either. That’s business. Yeah, it’s a messed-up situation, but let’s not pretend that it’s a duty of customers to prop up places they can’t realistically afford.

    2. Margaret says:

      I thought my first visit to Orwasher’s would be my last trip to Orwasher’s. Loud, slow, understaffed, and sorry guys, you’re local to the UWS since 2 weeks ago – gt[h]o with that 1916 on the banners. Plus after the long wait for the space to be built out, it seems the area behind the counter is designed awkwardly for people moving around. I was ready to go back on the 12th of Never. But… the $5.25 almond croissant was exceptional.

      • kaylord says:

        Is the croissant as good as Maison Kayser’s? I went on opening day and won’t be back. I didn’t like the vibe at all. And I have to double check but I think the same Orwasher’s loaf was cheaper at Fairway. I can’t afford to support their business (astronomical rent).

        • B.B. says:

          Maison Kayser is a brand despite the veneer of celebrity French baker M. Eric Kayser brings to the party.

          Against the choices most New Yorkers, Americans and elsewhere in the world outside of France have for what is considered “French” baked goods, Maison Kayser is certainly better than most. However both in France (especially Paris), New York and elsewhere there are better choices.

          A recent survey put François Payard along with several other French bakeries ahead of Maison Kayser.

          http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/02/25/best-bakeries-in-america/

      • 81st'er says:

        Just having my second turkey sandwich, it’s friggen fantastic. Wifey and I think it’s one of best we’ve ever had. Could it be a few bucks cheaper, sure. But is it small? No way. Long and narrow doesn’t mean small, it’s dense and deliciously filling. Can’t wait to have another next week.

    3. gene says:

      a third of a baguette? LOLOLOLOLOL

    4. Js says:

      The current owner of Orwasher’s is not the family that started the bakery on the East Side decades ago.

      As for delicious baguettes and other bread we are fans of Silver Moon on 106th and Georgia and Aliou on Amsterdam near 90

      • Filatura says:

        I keep going back to Kirsh’s, on Amsterdam (86-87) for their stupendous seeded sourdough loaf. (The sunflower, pumpkin and other seeds are not distributed throughout the bread, but form a lovely layer of crunch over the crisp crust of the bread.) I sometimes get Orwasher’s rye from Fresh Direct and it’s okay, but not what it was when the original owners made it. Trying to run Orwasher’s (East and West) as a bakery, sandwich shop and cafe has, in my opinion, has diluted the quality of the bread that made it famous. But sadly, they probably can’t pay the rent with a dedicated bakery. Another vote for commercial rent controls.

    5. Regina says:

      The store is bigger than the one on the UES but stocks fewer types of bread. I was told to call ahead if I want Irish Soda bread (which I love and usually buy at the UES venue). I was so happy to hear of this store opening but it is nothing like the UES store and therefore, a disappointment.

    6. Wendy says:

      Orwasher’s take note: Kirsch Bakery/Restaurant opened a while ago in the Popover space and is sitting empty most of the time, while the more moderately restaurants a block up on Amsterdam are doing well. I guess lots of folks don’t want to pay $5 for a croissant or a danish.

      • JS says:

        Or $8 (!!!) for a loaf of bread.

      • David Collins says:

        That’s because they are trying to be a restaurant instead of sticking to being a bakery/take out place. That means they are now competing with a lot more places and have stiffer competition as there are some good restaurants in that area.

        • B.B. says:

          IMHO the bakery/take-out sector in NYC (and in particular Manhattan) is becoming saturated as well.

          Leaving aside the small owner run shops you have the large chains (Maison Kayser, Le Pain de Quotien, Pret et Manger) churning out baked goods. Added to this are the bakery sections of places like Eli’s, Zabar’s, Whole Foods, Fairway, etc…). NYC seems overrun with bakeries and or baked goods.

          This probably goes along way to explain the growing mice and rat problems on the UWS and other areas of the City. Each night bags full of unsold baked goods are put out for rubbish collection.

          • ls says:

            The bakery expansion (including “upscale” chains/mini-chains like Maison Kayser, BirdBath Bakery etc) seems particularly ironic given the “new” Manhattan demographic of SoulCycle etc.

            • dannyboy says:

              am i in the SoulCycle target market?

              where do i look that up?

            • B.B. says:

              Suppose SoulCycle makes sense in some parts of the City. However why residents of the UWS, UES or even parts of Mid-Town would choose to *pay* for the privilege of riding a stationary bike in a hot and cramped room when Central Park beckons is beyond me.

              Haven’t checked but Citibike is probably cheaper for those that don’t own a bicycle.

            • B.B. says:

              Every decade it seems of late their is this or that new exercise craze. Most if not all are aimed at twenty-somethings (or those trying desperately to cling to that demographic even when they can see it clearly in their rear view mirror), and or those wanting to be part of current craze.

              Since the 1980’s off the top of my head there has been aerobics, Step classes, Spinning, and now SoulCycle. Not sure where Yoga fits into all of this, and am sure have missed a few.

              SoulCycle (and their competitor FlyWheel) have exactly the same whiff of “been there and done that” seen in previous exercise crazes. “Star” trainers or teachers (“you *HAVE* to take Peter’s class…..), to the point grown men and women break down and cry if they cannot get into said class. Merchandising and branding galore, the cliques, prima donnas…., and in the case of SoulCycle a potential public offering.

              As for the comment about the increased numbers of places offering baked goods, carbs aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

              Think of France, a country known for beautiful and spectacular slim women (and men). Breads and pastries have been a stable of life in that country for ages.

              The key is restraint of one’s appetites (of all sorts). Most all Frenchwomen learn the phrase “La moitié, s’il vous plait” while still girls. Loosely translated it requests waiters, servers or whomever is dishing out food to give a small portion. Thus one can have one’s cake and eat it as well.

            • dannyboy says:

              “Think of France, a country known for beautiful and spectacular slim women…”

              now that you got me “think[ing] of France…” I may be too preoccupied to write my quota of comments. Sorry to disappoint.

    7. JS says:

      Just what the neighborhood needs–more “high end” stores, while laundromats and supermarkets and discount shoe stores and small markets (the list goes on and on) are losing their leases. For example, the discount shoe store on the corner of 74th Street and Columbus always did a brisk business. Its replacement, a “high end” bath products store, has no customers. What gives? Oh, right, greed.

    8. joe says:

      I, too, was shocked at the prices. But, you figure this is NYC with high rents, so if you are going to make it work, you go high end, with equally high prices. But, frankly, the bread and pastries are (so far) not better than what you would get at many other places on the UWS at lower prices, and actually lower quality. If you are going to charge high prices, you better back it up with top of the line goods.

    9. Barbara says:

      Are the prices higher at the Upper West Side store (compared with the East Side branch)?

    10. martin eidelberg says:

      I was impatiently awaiting the opening of Orwasher but it was a great disappointment. The bagel was not a bagel–just a soft roll with a hole in the middle,. To make it worse, it cost twice as much as a good bagel at Fairways. I also tried their almond croissant but it was heavy, the almond paste filling did not have sufficient almond taste, and the bottom was burnt, not overly brown but burnt. Orwasher will need to step up its game (and lower their prices).

      • HelenD says:

        Just out of curiosity did you tell them that the croissant was burnt? Every time I point out a problem to a restaurant, deli, bakery, etc. I’m always told that I’m the only person, ‘who has ever complained.’ I don’t mind paying more for exceptional food, but on the UWS everyone has perfected the shoulder shrugging, eye rolling, I don’t give a damn response. If customers were honest and complained about sub par products (and service) then maybe things would begin to change.

        • dannyboy says:

          “on the UWS everyone has perfected the shoulder shrugging, eye rolling, I don’t give a damn response.”

          and for me, that’s where the fun begins

          • Tom Kelder says:

            For most adults that is where it all falls apart. But then again you would not know what I am talking about.

            • dannyboy says:

              Of course I know that you are trying to insult me. But I also understand that each person would have their own reaction to a shop offering a shoulder shrugging response. You don’t get that. I expect that is because you can’t get past yourself.

    11. jmorrow says:

      I have emailed Orwashers twice since Saturday to offer polite and constructive criticism of the problems we’ve faced at the UWS opening and haven’t heard back from anyone. Rude customer service seems to start from the top. So disappointing!

      • keith says:

        Hi Jmorrow:

        Please email me at info@ovenartisans.com. I would love to hear your feedback. I’m not sure why I didn’t receive your email, but I know this account goes straight to the main account.

        Best,

        Keith Cohen

    12. Christine says:

      *Just* bought a pair of glasses at Modern Day Optx and they have an OUTSTANDING selection. Beautiful frames arranged geographically (a section from Paris, a section from Japan, Italy, etc.)
      You could easily miss it from the street, but it’s worth a look. Glad it’s here.

    13. no says:

      Their bread got moldy in two days. Never again.

    14. UWS-er says:

      Not sure why there’s SO much hostility to Orwasher’s here. We went this weekend. Yes, a little pricier than I’d like, but the food was good and the people working there were friendly (though the ordering-paying system seemed chaotic and slow, which will hopefully improve). It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood and worth a shot. I hope they succeed.

      • dannyboy says:

        If I were to venture a guess, it is because the expectation exceeded the experience. That is common, and the only cure is not to expect so much but rather to appreciate what you are given.

        Alternatively, it could be the result of long days at work, followed by stressful travel home. I often pick up some tinge of stress from Commenters just after their work.

        I may be way off here. I personally got no bone for Orwasher’s. I’m fixed for bread (think naan).