NICK & TONI’S CAFE IS CLOSING AFTER 20 YEARS

nick-and-toni

Nick & Toni’s Café, the restaurant at 100 West 67th Street, is closing after 20 years on the Upper West Side. The owners sent an email to customers on Wednesday announcing that they will close on January 7, this Saturday.

“It is with great regret that we will be closing the restaurant at the end of service on January 7, 2017.  Being part of this community for 20 years has been a tremendously rewarding experience for us. We have fostered great relationships with many of you in our neighborhood.  The challenges of running a restaurant in the city are great and continue to only get more challenging.

That being said we want to thank you for the many years of patronage. We leave here with many fond memories and a proud sense of what we accomplished.”

nick-and-toni“The cost of doing business in the city no longer allows us to operate our business,” managing partner Mark Smith told Eater. “I’m proud of what we accomplished but our lease was up and we tried to negotiate, but the economics have become untenable.”

“Pizza, Danza, chicken,” wrote Nick & Toni’s regular Daniel Roberts in reaction to the news (Tony Danza had apparently been a regular there).

Nick & Toni’s also has a famous Hamptons location that predated the Upper West Side restaurant.

It’s becoming a ghost town on 67th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam, noted our tipster Kevin. Starbucks and Gracious Home are already closed on that block, and the impending closure of Nick & Toni’s means nearly every storefront on the block will be empty.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 65 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      Still can go to the N Main Street location in E Hampton.

      • so, winter in the Tropics and you hang out in East Hampton too!!!! OMG!!! this is the guy that scolds people that work for a living and make too much money.

        Pot meet Kettle….I have rarely seen someone lacking self-awareness more than you, my friend.

        • dannyboy says:

          “the guy that scolds people that work for a living and make too much money.”

          another projection

          motivated by resentment?

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        seriously, Southern Gentleman? you can’t argue with Dannyboy’s point of view (a liberal point of view that is in line with the vast majority of UWSers) without personally disparaging him?

        this sort of comment turns people off from this web site.

        • sg says:

          Not me…I find it refreshing to hear non-liberal viewpoints…yes there are such things.

          That said, it is sad to see all the empty storefronts.

          • dannyboy says:

            I too would find it refreshing to hear those viewpoints.

            But that would entail taking some personal responsibility.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            SG didn’t understand what i was saying. I’ll try to restate it, more clearly.

            I wasn’t complaining about Southern Gentleman disputing DannyBoy’s point of view. More power to him. he has every right to do so.

            I was remarking that SouthernGentleman apparently is unable to do so without personal disparagement. that is unnecessary.

            • Well, first of all I don’t know who you are and no one was talking to you so there’s that. So unless you are crying poverty, working the system and then gallivanting around the Islands and the Hamptons….I wasn’t addressing you.

              I’ll have to look at some of your posts, I’m sure I’ll be able to find plenty of material…believe me.:) Stay tuned.

              As far as Dannyboy…ayyy, what can you say? It’s like talking to a child at this point.

              And by the way, since you two are so worried about my financial situation I will only say that I am a retired real estate attorney (not to mention property owner) and I represented landlords and real estate developers for decades. You guys rarely have any idea what you are talking about….but by all means, carry on.

        • How is pointing out hypocrisy liberal or conservative?? You got me on that one.

          If you can’t see it then I really don’t know what to say.

          And as far as the personal “attacks”, I consider it more like advice, guidance and counsel…for FREE for that matter. Trust me, it wasn’t always so cheap.:)

          Anyway, I’m just not a fan of Limousine Liberalism. You guys do your thing though. Are guys gonna be in St. Barts next week, South of France perhaps???

          • dannyboy says:

            resentful much?

            need to blame others for your lousy situation?

            i am so liberal that i am concerned with your state.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              nicely said, DannyBOy.

              it’s interesting how SouthernGentleman assumes Danny Boy and I are rich… because we stick up for working class and poor people. Very odd logic.

              And of course all the people on this site who are cheering for more gentrification and displacement — such as the regular commenter who actually lobbied for the purchase of the Williams senior facility by luxury condo developers — these people must of course be working class and middle class.

              very very odd. i am curious as to explanations for this sort of viewpoint.

            • BourbonBetty says:

              I second that Commendation!

    2. Joan says:

      Oh no! Where will I get those amazing chicken livers 🙁

    3. Michael says:

      NOOOOOOO! I love N&T’s (more than the bakery that preceded it – and I loved that too). Sure it’s changed over the years, but it’s been wonderfully consistent in it’s qualitt, one of the waiters is unusually rememberable, and the location makes is a local gem. I don’t know if this decision is the result of another landlord increasing rent, but the trend is terribly troubling.

      • Michael says:

        Please forgive me, clearly I needed to spell check first: NOOOOOOO! I love N&T’s (more than the bakery that preceded it – and I loved that too). Sure it has changed over the years, but it has been wonderfully consistent in its quality, one of the waiters is unusually rememberable, and the location makes it a local gem. I don’t know if this decision is the result of another landlord increasing rent, but the trend is terribly troubling.

        • LucyF says:

          I agree. If Starbucks and Gracious Home can no longer afford the rent, then WHO can? So sad to see N & T gone. Any word if they might open in another location?

          • B.B. says:

            For Gracious Home the rent seems to have been a major issue for only some of their locations. The lease for Chelsea store has recently put up that lease for bidding and it is substantially below current market rate for area.

      • B.B. says:

        Owner mentioned “costs”, plural not singular. This means at least several expenses increased to a point it influenced the decision to close.

        As of 1 January 2017 NYS minimum wage increased and will continue doing so until it reaches $15/hr. in a few years.

        NYS is also going to raise overtime pay for restaurant/hospitality workers. http://ny.eater.com/2016/11/29/13763986/nyc-proposed-overtime-overhaul

        In the last few weeks several long time and often famous Manhattan restaurants have announced closures, including Da Silvano in the Village. More are likely to follow…..

        • sam says:

          The overtime law only applies to “salaried” workers, which most waitstaff are not.

          The tipped minimum wage law is also not going up to $15. it remains only 2/3 of whatever the current minimum wage law is, so less than $10/hour for 2017 (https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/factsheets/pdfs/p717.pdf). So that’s extravagant.

          If you can’t afford to pay your workers a living wage, you can’t afford to run a business.

          • B.B. says:

            Then it seems many places cannot or will not; for whatever reason restaurants along with other places in businesses normally associated with tight margins are closing left and right.

            UWS like much of Manhattan/NYC in general is losing supermarkets/food stores, restaurants, laundromats, dry cleaners along with sundry other various retail.

            Was born and raised in NYC and cannot ever recall seeing so much vacant store/commercial space. Am including the “bad” days of 1970’s and 1980’s.

            • Sean says:

              The retail landscape is changing because of online retailers. There is an app for almost anything now. People have smartphones. They aren’t going to the movies. They don’t shop at supermarkets in great numbers anymore in Manhattan because they don’t cook at home. Expect the traditional taxi to disappear in your lifetime. Things ain’t what they used to be.

            • Karen Bruno says:

              It’s just awful what is happening to this neighborhood. Minimum wage and greedy landlords are to blame.

    4. Sean says:

      I hope a spa opens here that does Brazilian.

    5. Nelson says:

      Sorry to see it go after so many years. It was one of my regular haunts for a long time. Will certainly miss Christian & Amanda at the bar…and their great pizzas.

    6. mary Caro says:

      Our neighborhood is going to the dogs. No decent grocer, no really neighborhood restaurants, no home furnishings store.
      Those of us who actually live her going to be totally pushed aside for the visitors to Lincoln Center and the movie theatres.
      I will really miss Nick & Toni’s.I have been a customer since they opened on 67th Street.

      • Sean says:

        It isn’t really a neighborhood in the traditional sense. This is not a working class community for instance. Go inside Century 21 and you will find only tourists.

        • B.B. says:

          That is because *real* Upper West Siders/New Yorkers know enough to avoid that Century 21! *LOL*

          Back in the day the C21 store downtown was a great place to shop for deals; then word got out and soon one had to dig through more and more schlock to find anything good. The original Daffy’s and a few other places were like this as well.

          Time was if you knew the right persons (your father’s second cousin’s BIL) you could be directed to someplace in Midtown or elsewhere to get things “wholesale”. That is all gone now for the most part. Unless you are part of the “one percent” that get invited to the REAL sample sales, and or are willing to schlep up to Woodbury Common

        • dannyboy says:

          Se3an,

          Again, I agree. Especially about a “destination neighborhood” not being a real neighborhood.

          There was never a need for economic homogeneity (“working class community”). The UWS was a Real Neighborhood as a RESULT of its diversity. Common interests do transcend economics.

    7. Paris Wyom says:

      Really sad that another top restaurant has closed on the upper west side. The 4th one in the past year. Nearby Telepan closed several months ago.

    8. cp says:

      What on earth? I remember when they opened and it had a different name (does anyone remember that?) but it was the same owners same restaurant. They used to have an apricot tart that I still crave. I just don’t know what all of these landlords are thinking, every store front cannot be a bank or a chain store, can it?

    9. Neil T says:

      Landlords would rather have a property vacant then to negotiate in good faith with hard working small business people. The rent spiral is taking it’s toll and will continue to do so. Many of these vacant properties will remain empty for years. The rent being asked for the Starbucks location is almost $5,000 a day. What business can generate the type of sales and profitability to pay this rent. The answer is NONE…

      • Sean says:

        Medical marijuana?

      • Brie Hoffman says:

        I would like to know the names of these landlords..maybe they need some publicity!

        • UWS_lifer says:

          It’s all public record if you really cared but your veiled threats would be better directed at all these politicians that keep driving up the property taxes….not to mention the countless other taxes and regulations owners are subject too.

          As long as property taxes are viewed as some bottomless resource for these inefficient, and sometimes corrupt, bureaucrats to tap this will continue and get much worse.

          It’s easy to criticize from the sidelines.

          • Carlos says:

            I don’t necessarily disagree with you that property taxes are going up too fast, but many of the same people complaining about that also complain that there isn’t enough money for schools, not enough cops, not enough subsidized housing, etc. Something’s got to give…

            • UWS_lifer says:

              You are 100% correct. Something has got to give and it is happening before our eyes. Unfortunately that is why we have all these businesses closing and the resultant empty storefronts, and then new construction. Usually high end units for sale not rent.

              It’s the only way the numbers work. And whether or not ultra-liberals want to accept it or not…the numbers have to work.

            • Jeff Berger says:

              And $15 minimum wage is going to make things worse. No mom and pop store or restaurant can afford to pay wages that start at $15. If a chief is getting that now, they will have to raise that salary to match the new floor. That will kill most restaurants. Stores that are struggling now from Amazon will close.

              I worked for a man who owned a small chain here in NYC. I asked him how he determined wages. He told me that for every $100 of sales per hour, he could afford $10 in salary. Based on that, he had one manager and two employees open, three more employees came in between 10 and 12 and then one more manager at 3 to close. That is a fixed cost. If you raise the minimum to $15 then what does he do? Raise prices? Cut staff? In his case, he sold to a big corporation that cut salary and cut staff and now is remaining employees are worse off.

              The problem is not “evil landowners” or “greedy business owners” The reality is that NYC and NY State taxes are the highest in the country. We have the most business unfriendly laws in the country. And now with a $15 minimum wage it is going to get worse. There is no point in promising a wage if no one will create the job in the first place.

              Unlike our governor, mayor and the current president, my family owned a small business for 40 years. Sorry, Obama, they did build it. I saw them struggle to pay wages. I only recently found out that there were times when they did not take a salary because there was no money. Not that we kids knew. They employed kids from the local high school who got their first job because of my parents. Their children then worked for us. My parents had 10 – 15 people on the payroll at any given time at good wages and benefits. They even paid for lunch and dinner! But If they had to pay the 1980’s equivalent of $15 they would have been out of business.

              You can have “progressive government” or you can have jobs. You can’t have both.

      • dannyboy says:

        Had lunch at V&T yesterday for fun.

        No students. Locals looking for value.

        Clientele has changed. V&T hasn’t.

        • BourbonBetty says:

          what’s V&T????

          • dannyboy says:

            A Southern Italian (red sauce) restaurant on Amsterdam, opposite St John the Divine.

            Great lunch prices, including salad and warm whole bread.

            I had been noticing that the Columbia students now have large enough allowances to eat in the “bistros” on Broadway and have abandoned V&T to the locals.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              that’s good for the “locals” but sad for COlumbia students.

              As an early ’70s Columbia student, we all LOVED V&T. i still drop by there every now and then and the quality remains excellent. but my diet is now less permissive of high calorie intake.

            • Cato says:

              Keep in mind that Columbia is currently still on holiday break. Students return on Monday.

      • Eric says:

        The Starbucks closing was an easy business decision … they moved half of their business 2 blocks west and opened up a full Starbucks store inside the ABC Cafeteria at 77W66 to serve the other half.

    10. It is sad see more and more West Side businesses going under. Once McGlades closed down, it was the beginning of the end for my old neighborhood. The rents will continue to rise to the point where small shops will have to charge $15.00 for a cup of coffee just to pay the rent.

    11. billie dolin says:

      What a shame! We hardly knew you – our new “go to” place – and we loved you!

    12. carol mills says:

      What do these landlords want? They leave business vacant for years and collect no rent. Why don’t they lower the rent so we can regain business in our neighborhood.

    13. B.B. says:

      Not just UWS, but it is going to be interesting to see what if anything replaces so much of the empty retail space in NYC.

      As noted thanks to our friend Mr. Internet and his cousin Mr. App so much now can be had simply by clicking/flicking a finger. It comes right to your doorstep often free of charge as well. As such just why anyone would need to open a physical retail space (and incur associated expenses) going forward is going to need a strong reason. That long with sound business plan and strong financial backing.

      Even socially Apps and such are killing the need for bars, clubs or other places normal people used to in order to meet/interact. Tinder, Grinder, and God only knows what else is out there take care of everything from dating to…., well you know.

      The UWS like West Village, Chelsea and a few other areas of Manhattan once had a thriving gay bar scene, they are now largely all gone. Eighth Avenue from 14th to 23rd streets is also a sea of vacant ground floor retail.

    14. RK says:

      “High Rent Blight” is not too bad on the UWS compared to other neighborhoods (Tribeca, Village, FIDI).. check out this great site which displays vacancies and describes the drivers
      http://www.vacantnewyork.com/

      My 2c. Went to Nick & Toni’s a few years ago. Thought it was overpriced and underwhelming, and walked out hungry. Maybe that’s a Hamptons’ thing, but I’ve never been back.

    15. B.B. says:

      Meanwhile across CP on the UES China Fun (Second Avenue and 64th Street) has closed after 25 years.

      Owner’s blame NYS and NYC local politicians for their “anti-small business” laws and rules.

      https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170105/upper-east-side/china-fun-closes-blames-government-rules-second-avenue-upper-east-side

    16. WTM.CPW says:

      This is a significant loss. BTW – someone mentioned T. Danza. We would often take our now 92 year old mother N&T’s for lunch. She, having no idea who he was, once stopped at his table to look at an infant he was holding. Danza was as gracious and welcoming as ever. We sat next to him a couple of weeks later there where he introduced his actual daughter! Quite the gentleman. And quite the restaurant

    17. CLAY DALFERES says:

      And the President-Elect ain’t likely to demand that Landlords lower rents.

    18. Karita Mattila says:

      Sad to hear. Loved the place. Such a nice bar, such a nice staff. Wishing you well for whatever in cards for future. Karita

    19. Roxy says:

      What is the motivation for landlords to keep storefronts empty for months/years rather then negotiate a reasonable rent? What are the laws that enable this? Are they taking losses, getting huge tax write offs? Dirty, neglected,empty storefronts are a blight on our city in many neighborhoods. The sidewalks in front of them are rarely cleaned and they attract homeless and vagrants. Only the soulless banks/chain stores can afford the leases – and even they’ve stopped biting.

    20. Lsilver212 says:

      There was a time in the 1970’s when no one dared walk on Columbus Ave. Storefronts were closed up and drugs and drug deals were the major activity. The endless closing of stores and restaurants, I believe, is mostly from absurdly high rents, not from a barely perceptible rise in minimum wages. It’s a very sad development in what used to be a thriving, wonderful neighborhood.

    21. Stacy says:

      What a shame, nick and Toni’s was an institution. We loved it!
      WHo is the realtor forcing this sad event?

    22. Mark B says:

      I’m so disappointed! Great spot with exceptional service. They made the BEST espresso martinis in the city! Wonderful bartenders… I forgot her name but a lovely blond woman behind the bar was awesome. Always took visitors here for late-night martinis and they loved the place (and the bartender lol). One oddity: they closed REALLY early. We asked the manager why… and he said “they don’t want street trade and riff raff… just regulars.” Sounded cool at the time, but maybe if they HAD stayed open later and attracted more non-regulars they’d be ok. Regardless, this was a GREAT place and I’m so sorry to see them go. Cheers to the wonderful staff! 🙂

    23. A Westsider says:

      Another small business closes and the Local so-called Business Improvement District does nothing about this. What’s Monica Blum have to say about this? BID is a disservice to the community, as there is no longer any small businesses in the area. Exactly, what business are they improving?

      http://lincolnbid.org/about-us/board-and-staff

    24. Chuck D says:

      Is having a vacant storefront really more valuable than keeping a paying tenant in a space on the UWS? It seems like landlords saying these properties are worth more than they are in order to take loans against them, which is why they sit empty for years and years.

      Can someone explain this to me? Is this how real estate is works?