Openings And Closings: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Riviera Maya, Amsterdam Tavern, JG Melon, Books Of Wonder


Spring lamb tsukemen, at Momofuku Noodle Bar in Toronto.

A long-awaited Mexican restaurant has opened, and noodles and British food are coming. But a bar that had been around for nine years is getting ready to shut its doors.

The celebrated Momofuku Noodle Bar is opening inside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. “David Chang will open another Noodle Bar next summer in a new 4,000-square-foot area being created for it on the third floor of the Time Warner Center. The executive chef, Tony Kim, will develop a new menu for this location, featuring noodles, buns and seasonal specialties.” Eater calls Momofuku “one of the city’s most influential restaurants in the modern era.”

That’s not the only opening in the Time Warner Center. A British company will be opening a restaurant called Bluebird in the former A Voce space. “The New York branch, covering some 10,000 square feet, will reflect the King’s Road, Chelsea, original as a lively, modern European place with food that has a strong English accent.”

Riviera Maya, the Mexican restaurant on the corner at 301 96th Street on the corner of West End Avenue that we’ve been hearing about for weeks, finally had its real opening on Friday. (They had an “open” sign up but then were closed for an extended period due to an apparent plumbing issue.) Our tipster Jordan was excited: “While I had to wait 40 minutes for 3 beef tacos, I thought the the staff was super friendly, but were obviously dealing with some organization issues as is expected on the opening night of a brand new resto. They gave out free sangria (I don’t think they have liquor license yet, so no hard drinks on menu yet) and actually made some amazing tacos that were shockingly worth the wait. Long long long time coming…hard to believe that it has been years since our beloved bodega had their lease yanked, and now West End Ave has it’s first new biz in an extremely long time.” See pics of the menu here and here.

Children’s bookstore Books of Wonder opened on Friday at its new home, 217 West 84th Street. The shop has already had readings, and is attracting eager customers. Here’s a calendar of upcoming events. Thanks to Rebecca for the tip.

Amsterdam Tavern, a gastropub at 106th and Amsterdam, is set to close in the coming weeks, with a farewell party set for September 22. It opened in 2008, and has a copper ceiling that’s 100 years old. Fans were distraught: “This is the worst news,” one wrote on Facebook. “Amsterdam Tavern has been my favorite place basically since it opened. The truffle mac and cheese and nachos are legitimately the best I’ve ever had and I get excited every fall when like 1/2 the beer menu becomes pumpkin ale.” Management was unavailable for comment, but a tipster cited a rent hike. Thanks to our two tipsters.

Firehouse Tavern on Columbus and 85th closed for renovations. Thanks to Michelle for the tip.

Another hot pot restaurant called Red Hot is open on Columbus Ave between 109 and 110, joining another (apparently excellent) hot pot spot on 108th and Broadway. Thanks to Daren for the tip and photo.

Shoe store Geox on 82nd and Broadway is closing. The shop lost its lease, according to a sign on the door. Thanks to Rebecca for the tip.

JG Melon is set to open Sunday (today!) at 480 Amsterdam Avenue (83rd), with its well-regarded burgers and other diner/steakhouse food. Here’s the menu for the original location (may differ at the new location). Thanks to Carol and Jeremy for the photos.

The new Landmark Theatres is open just south of the Upper West Side in the Via on 57th by the West Side Highway. Gothamist says that its plush and filled with goodies. “While there’s no in-theater food and drink ordering, there’s a curated array of concessions (Melt Ice Cream Sandwiches, Sweet & Sara Vegan Smores, Bronx Pretzel, etc.) plus a bar with craft beers, wine and cocktails and fare like salads, tacos and sliders. As for the seats, yes, you can reserve them and you’ll be sitting in either ‘oversized ultra-plush leather chairs or electric recliner seats with footrests,’ according to a press release.”

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 33 comments | permalink
    1. Cat says:

      In regards to Landmark Theaters, do they normally have in-theater food and drink ordering? I’ve only experienced this once at the Cinema 123 on the UES when the soda machine broke down and someone came into the theater half way through hand delivered a drink, lol. Are there theaters in NYC that have in-theater ordering?

    2. Koala says:

      Firehouse not coming back unforch

      • Christine E says:

        Oh dear — Firehouse is our go-to place for wings and nachos, and family-friendly too.

      • francis says:

        They needed bigger TVs in the Firehouse.

        While I’m here, Keeley’s could use bigger TVs … and bring back the dart board.

      • Jeff Berger says:

        Is that confirmed? I am so sorry. Lots of found memories at that place. Really nice people behind the bar.

      • UWSBadger says:

        It makes zero sense that a sports bar closes at the start of football season for renovations. No way it is coming back.

        • Jeff Berger says:

          Good point! What a shame. I hate when restaurants don’t just admit to closing instead of the “closed for repairs” lie. Is that a NYC thing?

      • Mark Moore says:

        Places like that don’t close for renovations. It’s just closed.

      • steve says:

        great news. won’t be hard for someone to open a better bar or restaurant in that space. Firehouse set the bar way low. Good riddance

        • Steve B says:

          Oh I have so many great Firehouse memories! But those go back to 1989. In recent years, though, it was too obvious that there wasn’t much there there anymore. We kept going back though and will miss it.

    3. Christine E says:

      Jacobs Pickles has reopened and is packed — yay!

      • francis says:

        The French Dip at Maison Pickle is an instant classic !!!!

        Best of luck to the most packed restaurant in UWS history, Jacob’s Pickles.

    4. robert says:

      Momofuku Noodle Bar will not last long in any NYC location with portions that small. It remind of Daniels on the UES, great tasting food but you will pay a huge amount and leave still feeling very hungry.

      • UWS-er says:

        Um, the original opened in 2004 and is still there. In NYC.

      • saray says:

        Have you ever been to a Momofuku Noodle Bar? Or like, eaten ramen? Ramen broth is incredibly hearty and fatty.

        I have been to Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. The portions are generous, and I’ve never finished a full bowl of ramen there. I’m really looking forward to dining there next summer.

      • Sarah says:

        Uh…Momofuku Noodle Bar started in the East Village more than ten years ago (still open). So, yeah: it can survive in a “NYC location.”

        • robert says:

          the village is a place were folks would expect portions like that as they are going there to be at hip & happening place in a hip & happening neighborhood. Also the per capita disposable income in that area is quite a bit higher than the uws. Census data etc Why would you even want to go to the east and/or wst village for anything other than the strand book store
          The UWS is much more in needed of great restaurants like V&T’s Italian on 110 & Amsterdam for real food at a great price. Its been these since 1949 and is still family run, no sauce from a jar and they deliver down to 96. Yes folks the UWS is not just WEA and RSD in the seventies and sixties

    5. Carlos says:

      I was in Books of Wonder over the weekend. I really hope they succeed but I’m not optimistic. The only way they will succeed will be through extraordinary service and I thought it was very average. There is also currently almost nowhere to sit, and it is an awkward space. They have a nice selection of books but I prefer the vibe of Book Culture’s downstairs kids section to Books of Wonder.

    6. Molly says:

      A $9 grilled cheese at JG Melon. Wow.

      • Kenneth says:

        Molly –
        Curious – How much do you think a sandwich in a non-diner, sit-down, waited table service restaurant should cost?

      • I remember when a grilled cheese cost a nickle…and they would make the cheese right there in front of you while you waited. It took a couple of days camping out there but it was worth it, especially since the horse drawn carriage ride back home would take about a fort night, each way…

        Actually, we didn’t call’em nickles though, we called’em Bee’s because there used to be a picture of a bee on’em. You’d say, got 5 bees for a quarter? Anyway, I was on my way to by an onion for my belt, a yellow onion, not a white one, due to the fact that the war was on, anyway…because that was the fashion at the time…zzzzzzz

    7. Mark Moore says:

      I went into Riviera Maya last night around 8PM. Beautiful weather, tons of people out, and there was literally one customer inside. There’s no sign outside to know what the place is. Even when you walk in it’s not apparent it’s a Mexican restaurant. I had to ask for a paper takeout menu to know what they offered or even what the name of the restaurant is. Unlike the menu linked to here, the price of the tacos — the main thing I was interested in — was crossed out so I still don’t know how much they cost. It doesn’t say how many tacos are in an order. As you can see from the menu, prices are not very attractive. It seems like they’re trying to be all things to all people (burgers?). I realized after walking out with the menu that it didn’t even say if they delivered (I assume they do).

      I’m rooting for this place but they need to make some changes.

    8. SheWrites says:

      While I agree that competition is great for capitalism, it makes me sad that Books of Wonder came uptown. Bank Street Bookstore has been the go-to kids’ bookstore for ages and they had to downsize but thankfully didn’t go under. Glad Books of Wonder was able to stay around, but … hoping my Bank Street Bookstore can take the competition … 🙁

    9. Huh? says:

      The link to the Amsterdam Tavern last night event looks like it’s an invite for some guy’s private birthday party?

    10. Kelli says:

      Something called The Groomery is coming to Columbus, next to the soon-to-be Trader Joes on 93rd. I think the window signs went up this past weekend.

    11. VariousArtist says:

      “The truffle mac and cheese and nachos are legitimately the best I’ve ever had and I get excited every fall when like 1/2 the beer menu becomes pumpkin ale.”

      This is a joke, right?

    12. David says:

      A reputable birdy told me west side market is closed by 11/1. All because Bellclaire wanted the back freezer area.

      • Jeff Berger says:

        The Zabar family was so smart to buy their building when they had the opportunity.

      • RF says:

        I believe this is probably correct. When I was there a few weeks ago, I overheard two of the cashiers talking about how they “only have two months left” and how they hoped they could work together elsewhere. I much prefer WSM over Fairway, so I’m sorry to see it go.

    13. ATC says:

      Alas just got word Elizabeth’s at 93 and Columbus is closing!!

    14. Jeff Berger says:

      It is official: the FIrehouse Tavern has closed for good.

      They had a party to say goodbye to their many patrons:

      https://www.meetup.com/crcnyc/events/242925060/