Openings & Closings: Gigi Cafe, Zen Taco, Mandee, Made In New York Pizza

Gigi Cafe just closed its doors at 2067 Broadway near 72nd Street. Harriet, one of our tipsters, said Gigi was “my kitchen 3-4 days a week…I’m very sad.” The store had been open for at least a decade. Tipsters said that employees told them it had to do with the rent, though we couldn’t confirm. Thanks also to Joeanna and Lisa for the tips.

Zen Taco at 522 Columbus Avenue between 85th and 86th appears to have closed. The restaurant, which opened in 2016, fused Asian and Latin American flavors in bowls, tacos and other dishes. But there’s paper over the windows and before the closure staff had been telling customers that it was closing. We have not been able to reach the company to confirm that the closure is final. “There are workmen in there now and it seems as if it’s being converted to something else (one workman said, ‘I think maybe Thai, but I’m not sure’),” our tipster Ed told us two days ago. Thanks to George for the photo.

Mandee is open next door to Urban Outfitters on Broadway, between 99th and 100th Streets, Jayson tells us. The store is holding a grand opening sale, with all the items apparently selling for $10 or less. Mandee closed another store on Broadway between 95th and 96th, according to Yelp.

Made in New York Pizza is opening in the former home of Barley & Grain at 80th Street and Amsterdam. “It’s a pretty big space in there, which makes me think it’ll be a sit down spot and not just a takeaway shop,” remarks Joel. Thanks to Maria and Chris J. for the tip also.

Bustan at 487 Amsterdam is closed until mid-December for “emergency maintenance,” according to a sign on the door. Thanks to Laura, Javier and Bette for tips.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 32 comments | permalink
    1. Iz says:

      Is the Mandee store temporary? It’s going into the space where the Halloween Spirit usually sets up shop. Just what we need on that block…

      Will anything ever improve the stretch between 99th and 102? It’s got to be one of the more bleak areas in all of the UWS.

    2. Karen says:

      We just ate at Sala Thai on Amsterdam. Excellent! Great addition to the neighborhood.

    3. UWSHebrew says:

      Gigi Cafe was a gem. I was a regular customer. Where else could you get excellent, fresh food at very reasonable prices, nice staff, with plenty of seating and a bathroom? I hope they re-open somewhere else on the UWS!

      • Jen says:

        Finally @UWSHebrew and I agree on something 🙂

      • NotImpressed says:

        Where else?
        Are you new to the UWS?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          I’ve been in this neighborhood since 2011. Please tell me another establishment that offers what Gigi Cafe had. Remember, has to have a large seating area, no need to tip for a waiter, access to a bathroom, and no employees ever telling you it’s time to leave. Don’t even try and say McDonald’s.

          • dannyboy says:

            I couldn’t resist the quiz question: “have a large seating area, no need to tip for a waiter, access to a bathroom, and no employees ever telling you it’s time to leave.”

            Starbucks. And you don’t even need to order anything.

            That said, I don’t use Starbuck’s, making an exception for their bathroom.

            I did have a debate with several tenured Columbia profs who were using the HBS Case in their classes. What bullshi!

          • Philsays says:

            Cafe 72 is pretty good. Not quite as large as Gigi, but still plenty of seating and a large selection of food. I assume they have a bathroom? Can’t imagine a place that seats at least 40 would be without one.

      • Kazi says:

        Thank you for your kind words-Kazi from GIGI cafe

    4. Favorite Utensil? The Telephone! says:

      Re: “…employees told them it had to do with the rent,….”

      Probably, but possibly also the competition, as the excellent “Café 71” is a few doors down. Hopefully ’71’ (inexpensive, fast delivery, huge menu choices) will remain.

    5. UWS says:

      Ah Zen Taco, they were not long for this place. Always seemed to be people inside, but my sense was that a place serving mex/asian fusion wasn’t really going to get much traction in UWS. Meanwhile Good Enough to Eat next door is still going strong…

      And Gigi Cafe, another deli bites the dust! Wonder who will take up that location next.

      • EricaC says:

        The sad thing is that Zen Taco was actually pretty good – while I find Good Enough to Eat food to be not so good.

      • Geoff says:

        That last bit amazes me to no end. So many great places come and go, but Good Enough To Eat (which is not a high bar, aka Not Good Enough To Wait) remains. Behold, the power of marketing.

    6. AB says:

      So upset about Cafe Gigi!

    7. Jack Davis says:

      Sorry, but I won’t miss Zen Taco. Very disorganized, mediocre. Not ready for prime time.

    8. Ish Kabibble says:

      Zen Taco was amazing. Really bummed people didn’t give it a shot. Food was delicious.

    9. Bg says:

      Gigi and tasty treat, which closed about a month ago across bdwy on 71st street, had same owners.

    10. UWS Dad says:

      Has Zen Taco really been open since 2016? I find that very hard to believe as I thought they opened late last year.

      • Big Jay says:

        that’s what I thought too – Q4 ’17 at best. anyway, i loved the food (service was always rather slow but whatever)

    11. Upper West Sider says:

      Gigi’s selection, quality and reasonable prices will be missed! And the employees in that store were great. After seeing some of them for years, it would have been nice to have a chance to say goodbye and thanks.

      • Steven says:

        I agree, very nice staff. I was in there on Monday & nobody said a thing. Big loss for the UWS, it had good healthy foods for reasonable prices.

    12. Morris says:

      Loved Zen Taco and hate to see it go! A new restaurant will be coming in the next couple of weeks

    13. Anne says:

      I’m so sad GiGi Cafe closed. It was a staple takeout place at our house. Food was always fresh and prices very reasonable. I do hope they find a way to come back. I know there are many UWSiders who echo my sentiments.

    14. Steven says:

      Totally shocked about Gigi. I was in there 1-2 days a week & the place was always busy. They had the best salads & soups & a great hot table of food selections. They will def be missed. This neighborhood is loosing what was left of the semi reasonably priced places for good quick food.

    15. Jen says:

      I would be surprised if it is not a rent issue. Landlords on UWS force restaurants to either raise their prices or close. And the prices must be insane to make any kind of profit so they choose to close. There absolutely must be some sort of the regulation. We can’t have banks and delis competing equally for the same location

    16. Bg says:

      Gigi owners also owned tasty treat on bday and 71 that closed a few weeks ago for same reason…strange

    17. UWSSurfer says:

      My friends and I will terribly miss Gigi’s Cafe.
      Nice employees and manager. It had the best, inexpensive vegetable pizza in NYC.

      Cafe 71 has some good things too but the pizza
      was much better at Gigi’s.

    18. SlappyMcFinklestein says:

      Made in New York Pizza? It’s pizza, no need to get fancy, just call it ‘pizza’, we’ll roll our eyes and try it once.

    19. AE says:

      Zen Taco was under the same restaurant group as Good Enough to Eat. They’re changing the concept to Thai and it should be open in a few weeks.

    20. Mark Moore says:

      You have to sell a lot of tacos to pay the rent at that location. Zen Taco lasted less than a year I think.