Openings & Closings: Friedmans Restaurant, White Gold, Jooneechees, Billy’s Bakery

Friedmans Restaurant, one of the few restaurants named after an economist, is opening at 130 West 72nd Street, the former home of 72nd Street Bagel and then briefly the home of Milk & Honey. Friedmans was named after Milton Friedman, the famed economist who said that “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” according to the Friedmans website. It’s family-owned and the food is gluten-free. Friedmans in Chelsea serves a wide variety of hearty food, including eggs, lox and pastrami hash dishes for breakfast and korean wings and skirt steak tacos for dinner. Thanks to Rachel for the tip.

White Gold Butchers, the restaurant and butcher shop at 375 Amsterdam Avenue (78th Street) closed on Sunday, less than two years after opening to much fanfare. April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman had partnered to open White Gold, but split their partnership following allegations of sexual harrassment against Friedman. Butchers Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest left earlier this year. The restaurant will be replaced by a restaurant with a “new and exciting approach to healthy and sustainable eating,” according to a sign on the door. Thanks to many tipsters, including Bill, Steffanie, Theo, Nancy, and Steven, for sending in photos.

Jooneechees on Amsterdam between 82nd and 83rd Street, is closing by the end of August, Lisa tells us. “There’s a sign on the window saying the scaffolding outside put them out of business and everything is 25% off. When I stopped in, the woman behind the counter (possibly the owner?) said most of their business came from street traffic rather than their Web site, so they’re shutting down completely once current stock is gone. Such a bummer as they only relocated from their downtown location a few years ago, and their selection was always unique, if pricey, with lots of handmade options.”

Billy’s Bakery is opening at 410 Columbus Avenue near 80th Street, the former home of Bit’z Kids. Billy’s was started 15 years ago by two friends and is known for its cupcakes and cakes. “We can use some cupcakes in the neighborhood!” writes Emily. Thanks to Billy , Lauren, Emily, Kimberly, Terry, Matthew and others for the tips!

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 50 comments | permalink
    1. Sad@this says:

      White Gold Butchers was reflective of everything that’s wrong with the UWS now. Upper Westsiders used to be known as savvy shoppers; now apparently we’re considered marks by businesses that can’t manage to keep their doors open because they don’t deserve to. Every time an established business closes, it is replaced by something less useful. The deli that was at the WG location for decades was far more useful than a boutique butcher and it wasn’t even a good deli.

      I mark the decline of the neighborhood to the closing of the butcher on Broadway and 79th Street. We will never see it’s like again. Now, that was a butcher, amirite?

      Now get off my lawn!?#%%!

      • Brad G says:

        I couldn’t disagree more. White Gold was one of less than a handful of butchers in the city buying from individual farms, and breaking down the animals, nose to tail. Also, the food was fantastic, the chopped cheese was amazing, the salads were good. I had issues with their counter service early on, but they eventually got it sorted out. Progress means healthier, sustainable meat and White Gold delivered. I hope they open something similar.

    2. Sad@this says:

      White Gold Butchers was reflective of everything that’s wrong with the UWS now. Upper Westsiders used to be known as savvy shoppers; now apparently we’re considered marks by businesses that can’t manage to keep their doors open because they don’t deserve to. Every time an established business closes, it is replaced by something less useful. The deli that was at the WG location for decades was far more useful than a boutique butcher and it wasn’t even a good deli.

      I mark the decline of the neighborhood to the closing of the butcher on Broadway and 79th Street. We will never see it’s like again. Now, that was a butcher, amirite?

      Now get off my lawn!?#%%!

    3. Kathleen Treat says:

      OMG we are MAD ABOUT Billy’s. Hooray and welcome!

    4. Joy Weiner says:

      Yeah! Friedmans is fantastic!

    5. BillyNYC says:

      What a welcome Billy’s Bakery this fall will be here on the UWS!

    6. WestEndKid says:

      Love the Friedmans downtown. This is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and especially 72nd street.

    7. Tom Lee says:

      1 – Another place to buy a muffin!? Paris Baguette, Dunkin Donuts, Box Kite, Muffins Cafe, Joe’s Coffee, Pain D’Espices, Magnolia, Starbucks, Alice Tea Cup, Levain, Recolte, Maison Keyser, Mille-Feuille, Margot Patisserie, Europan, Irving Farm,…

      2 – White Gold Butchers never took off. One of the worst management places I have been to. Did not help that it charged premium prices. The produce was indeed good but the service (lack of) made it almost unbearable to shop there. Combining the butcher shop and restaurant was not a good idea.

      • Sad@this says:

        Re: a butcher and restaurant combined, Ottamanelli’s V.2 on the corner of Amsterdam and 79th Street tried this and failed miserably. It was a p*ss poor butcher and not much of a place to grab a bite. The “original” west side Ottamanelli’s on the Laytner’s block was much better, although never great. It was exclusively a restaurant. I don’t understand what made them come back to the neighborhood to an inferior location with an inferior concept. But what do I know?

      • Ethan says:

        Tom Lee I agree with you 100% too many bakeries, not enough healthy options or more quick and some what healthy options. I am tired of eating bread and cake I want food!

    8. Bob Lamm says:

      I was stunned when White Gold opened right near me. I found the concept of combining a restaurant and butcher shop to be bizarre. I never thought they had a chance, especially on Amsterdam. But I’m getting no pleasure in being proven right.

      • Sad@this says:

        And let us not forget that White Gold replaced an overpriced “gluten free” pasta restaurant, another solution in search of a problem. The latest of these ridiculous attempts to “think different” is the Japanese steak franchise on Bway & 80 St. where for many years there was a useful, if not very good, Korean deli. I cannot think of a single thing that would entice me to try it: the decor is a nightmare (and it will cost the next tenant a fortune to undue it), the signage covers most of the window space, the product looks totally unappealing and quite expensive for someone looking for a quick way to feed her family. I just don’t get it at all (although that space was once occupied by a store selling expensive novelty clocks so…). Apparently this new spot is one of several in the city so somebody must be buying $20 take out steaks.

    9. Friedmans Fan says:

      Friedmans is owned by the same owners of milk and honey.

    10. Mark Moore says:

      Friedman’s is not all gluten free but it is a great place to get gluten free food. The one at Amsterdam and 120th is very good.

    11. Gary says:

      If I’m not mistaken, the Jooneechees store is in the same location Global Table left mid-2015. My wife and I love Global Table (we still travel to their SOHO shop) as it’s our goto gift-buying store. So, we were upset when they left and spoke with the owner about it at the time. One of her biggest complaints was the scaffolding that went up about a year into her lease and never came down. AND IT’S STILL UP TODAY!
      Does anyone know why light- and business-killing scaffolding goes up and rarely comes down within a Mayor’s term? Is it the landlords? Is it the scaffolding companies? Is it the city’s bureaucracy? Businesses have a hard enough time competing for our money, having to do that from behind a fence cannot help.

      • Sherman says:

        I’ve wondered about this myself.

        I’m not a lawyer but I would assume there are laws in place as to how long scaffolding can stay.

        There’s scaffolding that seems to be there for years. Yes, this is a quality of life issue and likely hurts small businesses.

        Our wonderful elected officials apparently could care less. I guess this isn’t a progressive enough issue.

        • Amy says:

          There is no law about how long scaffolding can stay up. The Times did at least one article, I believe in the past year, on a proposed bill in the City Council that would have mandated limits. Guess it didn’t go anywhere.

        • your_neighbor says:

          The scaffolding has to go up as soon as a dangerous condition is noted, sometimes these go up overnight.

          The scaffolding is expensive to put up but after that, the monthly rent isn’t too bad.

          Cost to put up scaffolding plus the engineering work to identify fixes, permits, and the actual fixes take a lot of money and a lot of time – especially if you don’t have the cash on hand or the income from rent controlled/stabilized apartments to pay for the work immediately. Not every building owner is Mr/Ms Moneybags.

          Sometimes it would be easier to just tear down the existing building and build new than make the repairs. Of course this would never be able to happen in our NIMBY neighborhood.

          • dannyboy says:

            “Cost to put up scaffolding plus the engineering work to identify fixes, permits, and the actual fixes take a lot of money and a lot of time – especially if you don’t have the cash on hand or the income from rent controlled/stabilized apartments to pay for the work immediately. Not every building owner is Mr/Ms Moneybags.

            Sometimes it would be easier to just tear down the existing building and build new than make the repairs. Of course this would never be able to happen in our NIMBY neighborhood.”

            COMPLETE FABRICATION. The scaffolding remains until another renter can be found for the scaffolding. This is not driven by Rent Control , who you scapegoat, but rather by the greed for excess profit/lower cost at the expense of others. Sick.

          • EricaC says:

            I don’t know whether it’s the same thing, but at one building I lived in, our “Local Law 11” inspection time came up. That’s the law that requires periodic inspections of the facade so you can catch damage that would result in tragedies like that child who was killed sitting next to his grandmother a few years ago. (I still ache for her.) When that time comes up, you have to put up scaffolding until the inspection is completed. At that building, we tried for more than a year to find a company to do the inspection and any repairs, but there were only a few companies that were licensed or capable of doing it, and once we found one that we could pay, we had to wait nearly another year to get our turn. And then it took them a few months to do the work. Maybe it’s a similar situation here.

      • William says:

        I was told years ago that when landlords have expensive repairs to do because of potentially falling debris on pedestrians it is much cheaper to put up scaffolding and cover than to do the repairs. The City only cares about the safety aspect so they never push landlords to remove it.

        An upside is that there is so much of it in the city that you can often walk miles without getting rained on!

    12. BillyNYC says:

      White Gold? Never head of this place and I live on West 80th Street – I guess no PR done! Best butcher shop i love and know about is Citarella at 75th Street and B’way. Great NEWS about Billy’s coming to the UWS.
      Love that bakery.

      • UWS-er says:

        At some point, google “White Gold” and “chopped cheese.” It got huge amounts of PR when it opened and the chopped cheese was legitimately amazing. But it was only available at lunch, which is odd. And there was nothing kid-friendly available at dinner–seems weird not to offer a burger or hot dog on the UWS.

      • Beverly says:

        Billy- any relation to “Billy’s Bakery maybe?

        • BillyNYC says:

          No no relationship. But I know and love that bakery from Chelsea, just a coincidence
          I am the president the W. 80th St. block Association. Check the website:
          West80thstreet.com

    13. Roger Bilco says:

      White Gold was anything but. Hudson and Charles is a better Butcher and located just up to the street on Amsterdam. I go between them and citarella’s.

    14. Eileen Donohue says:

      Re scaffolding on buildings for years. Please call your council member and ask them to support Kallos bill.
      Council member Kallos introduced a bill to get landlords to repair buildings in a set time frame and limit the time scaffolding can stay up. There are so many negligent landlords that don’t care about the neighborhood. We need to speak up.

    15. Frank says:

      White Gold had a great breakfast sandwich but let’s face it – they were a tad over priced on everything they sold.

      Their meat was pretty good but no better than what I can get at Citrella and Citrella has much better service and in many cases better meat than White Gold had and at a slightly cheaper price. Not to mention all the other services Citrella offers.

      Shame to see them go but the restaurant wasn’t very nice for the prices, had a limited selection and the butchery was a tad over priced.

    16. patrick says:

      Sad to see White Gold Butchers close. I ate there for dinner once and it was fabulous. One of the best meals I’ve had on the UWS. The bacon egg cheese they served in the morning was named as one of the best in the city and it was indeed excellent. The bacon it came with was absolutely incredible.

      • Kat French says:

        And yet you only ate there once. If you like a place, you need to patronize it!

        • patrick says:

          Hey Kat, mind your own business! There are so many restaurants in the city I rarely visit one more than once or twice a year.

        • Bronx Boy says:

          I loved the breakfast sandwiches and had them more than once, but they weren’t available until about 10 a.m., so no good for people who work outside the neighborhood. Even on weekends, that’s pretty much all they delivered in the morning, so it was hard to make the minimum ($15, as I recall) if you were just one person. There was a small overlap where they delivered both breakfast and lunch, so I once did get a breakfast sandwich plus a chopped cheese. That was great — but awfully caloric.

          I enjoyed White Gold and planned to go there for dinner, but didn’t get around to it. It used to be hard to score a reservation.

          I’ll echo what others have said about Citarella: Top-notch butcher shop with beautiful presentation.

    17. UWSer says:

      Real shame about Jooneechees as they were a genuinely unique independent store with great (albeit expensive) gifting options. The scaffolding certainly contributed to their undoing as pedestrians walking by would have been hard pressed to notice and linger outside the store window.

    18. West Ender says:

      Excited for Billy’s Bakery – their icebox cake is my favorite!

      • LS says:

        I am saddened that White Gold closed. The UWS is the one area of the city that does not have a vibrant, exciting scene for food. Great chefs will never open places up here because everyone wants tons of food, cheap. I moved back from the West Village a few years ago and I am shocked that the UWS can not support small independently owned unique stores and restaurants. I grew up in this neighborhood many years ago and it had a plethora of fabulous restaurants and shops. Now, it is one chain after another and the same sort of restaurants.

    19. Dub Westsides says:

      Going to miss White Gold! Too bad about the management dysfunction. The breakfast sandos and cuts of meat were our favs. Bone broth so tasty. Praise to the older guy who spent the time to thin-slice roast beef to perfection in nice neat layers.

    20. chris woo says:

      went to look at the website for Jooneechees out of curiosity and see that there is really no product on it — just a place for people to register.
      white gold was consistently not 100% great (not even 90%) and for the prices they charged at dinner (2 people easily $140), it really need to be.

    21. Keith says:

      I am here to defend White Gold. I found their customer service to be incredible. They cut whatever you asked for to order, really knew their stuff and took pride in their product, which was amazing.

      It was better when Jocelyn and Erika where there, but the guys who worked their were also great.

      The sandwiches, as noted were great, and there were things you couldn’t find anyplace else like cuts of meat and lamb pastrami.

    22. bruce heyman says:

      We will miss Ann and Jooneechees. What a great gift store. I empathize with all those shops under the scaffolding, especially the new ones. We have been at that location for 14 years – the last 4 under the scaffolding. EXTREMELY frustrating. You can get fined too, for hanging banners to tell people you exist.
      Bruce Heyman
      Metropolitan Window Fashions

    23. Peter says:

      Why does NYC seem to be the only city that is covered in scaffolding? Other cities, big or small, old or new, in cold or in warm climates, by the sea or inland, in rich countries or in not so rich countries…none of them seem to require the use of scaffolding anywhere near what NYC demands. Why?

      People often wonder on here why rents are so high – often resorting to calling landlords greedy. Yet, NYC imposes w some of the highest real estate taxes and some of the most bureaucratic permitting and arduous real estate legislation of any city.

      Ironically NYC also lets more and more skyscrapers pop up with no regard to their impact. Just look at the sham regarding the permits issued for the 700 foot tall building being planned for 200 Amsterdam Avenue.

      So lets regulate the heck out of one thing and lets cover the city sidewalks and people’s windows in scaffolding, but look away when a 700 foot tower is built on top of a school.

    24. Lena says:

      If you’re sick of the blight of “permanent” scaffolds and sheds, call or email your city council member and voice your support for “Scaffolding and Sidewalk Sheds: Intro 1389-2016” a bill introduced by Ben Kallos. It’s languishing, and who knows when (if ever) it will come up for a vote, but maybe a little pressure would help.

    25. Scaffolding is a scourge that is killing businesses on every block on the UWS.

    26. 92nd Street says:

      These scaffolding comments are painfully uneducated. Local Law 11, now called FISP requires every building in NYC to erect a scaffolding every 7 years to inspect the facade for unsafe conditions by an Engineer. If anything is found, the Building must hire Expediters, Architects, Engineers, and Attorneys to begin the process of satisfying the Dept, of Buildings, a woefully unorganized and corrupt division that heaps buckets of red tape in order to get every cent possible from every single building in the City. In order to even begin the repairs, after the scaffolding has been erected, the building must receive permission from the DOB, and they are notorious for stalling those approvals for months at a time. Landlords of even tiny buildings may wind up spending $100,000’s prior to even starting the work. More so, scaffolding may not be removed until the DOB has approved the completed repairs and often will send additional inspectors back after the required repairs are completed. If they find anything else, the entire process must start again. FISP repairs which physically may take 60 days to complete can stretch on for years. No property willingly will halt this process, which was originally designed to protect pedestrians, but has become a monster money maker for the City. Food for thought; a Food Cart is caught selling unsafe food, the penalty $150. A Building Scaffold has a single light bulb burned out underneath the Sidewalk Bridge, the penalty $2,500. It’s all about the City getting paid.

      • RK says:

        So it’s DeBlasio’s fault, again?

      • Lucas says:

        Explain how the comments are uneducated?

        We are all aware of Local Law 11. It is a very poorly conceived law and one that is clearly being abused.

        I believe inspections are required less then 7 years for certain buildings. Either way, there is no need for such exhaustive inspections every 5 or 7 years.

        The hiring of Expediters, Architects, Engineers and Attorneys to essentially replaces bricks is absurd, not to mention extremely costly and a lengthy process.

        The Dept, of Buildings is indeed woefully unorganized and corrupt – like many other NYC depts.

        The entire process is a sham with the intent to make money for NYC and those who are part of the process (lawyers, scaffolding companies, …)