Openings & Closings: Another Van Leeuwen, Holy Schnitzel, New Thai Spot

Van Leeuwen ice cream loves the Upper West Side so much that it’s opening a second store here. The new 850-square-foot location will be at 253 Columbus Avenue between 71st and 72nd Street, according to Jaime Schultz, a broker from Lee & Associates who worked with Van Leeuwen on the deal. Van Leeuwen opened its first UWS spot at 448 Amsterdam Avenue (81st-82nd). The company makes all of its ice cream in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, and includes vegan flavors.

Holy Schnitzel, a Kosher restaurant with one of the greatest names around, is opening at 654 Amsterdam Ave (corner of West 92nd), the former home of Amsterdam Burger. It will serve salads, sandwiches, falafels, burgers, wraps, and more. ” The casual and reasonably priced restaurant will be opening in the first quarter of 2019 and will be serving their classics like the Cali Love, Holy Toasty and Tony Special (enclosed). This is the 5th establishment in their portfolio, with locations already in Cedarhurst, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens,” Holy Schnitzel said on Facebook. See the full menu at its Brooklyn location here.

And from the rumormill…A Thai restaurant is expected to open in the former home of short-lived fusion restaurant Zen Taco at 522 Columbus Avenue between 85th and 86th, according to a tipster who was inside the space last week. We don’t have the name or the menu yet, but will keep it on the radar.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 47 comments | permalink
    1. Trish says:

      I was initially excited about Zen Taco but having to buy 3 tacos — at a price of $15 — made it completely impractical for lunch. Oaxaca Taqueria (81st and Amsterdam) is tasty and more flexible.

      • Jeff says:

        100% agree, the requirement to spend a not-tiny sum and order what I consider to be a big meal was a real turnoff at Zen Taco.

        • Ish Kabibble says:

          Wow, you two are incredibly cheap. Zen Taco was delicious and hardly a big meal. I’m guessing neither of you actually tried it.

    2. RWC10025 says:

      Van Leeuwen, love their ice cream.
      Hate that they are part of that new cashless business model creeping into the city.

      “Part of the purpose of the bill is to educate people about the insidious racism of a cashless business model. It’s deceptively benign. But what we have happening is a creeping delegitimization of cash, and I worry about the racial ramifications of that.”

      • UWSHebrew says:

        I can’t stand these businesses which will only accept a credit card for a $4 cookie. It’s for green haired Millenials.

      • Sean says:

        Absolutely ridiculous argument. Tourists carry credit cards. Most of these newer business models support paving from your device. It also makes the store a safer place without cash on hand. Tourists want to pay with a device on subways and buses too.

        • Arjan says:

          Probably not only the store itself but it might also reduce the number of banks or the amounts of money that banks need to keep around, which is again directly related to Mondays article about the Chase robbery.

          Being recent UWS import and hence also a recent follower of the West Side Rag, I’m surprised to see articles about bank robberies on such a regular basis…

        • Cato says:

          OK. So the tourists and “green haired Millennials” can get together to support this place.

          They don’t want *my* money, so I’ll take it elsewhere. Great business model!

          • Jay says:

            Seems like they aren’t hurting. The cost savings of not handling cash likely far outweighs the few customers they lose who are turned off by not taking cash.

          • Ish Kabibble says:

            Boy, you’re really showing them! LOL.

      • Frank says:

        I support this bill. Cash should always be an option under the law. Cash is for ALL debts personal and private. Regardless of the apparent discriminatory effects, maybe some people prefer to use cash on things so there isn’t a trail of data about their consumer choices being sold by banks to advertisers to better target them with products.

      • Glitter says:

        This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Racist?

        • MB says:

          Yes, or at least potentially racist and at the very minimum class discrimination. Not everyone has a credit card or smart phone with Apple Pay or similar. Someone will say that such an individual won’t be shopping there anyway…equally pompous and tone deaf

    3. Miranda Smith says:

      We need some good Cantonese Chinese food . 🙏🏻

      • Ridger Lodger says:

        I could dig up an emerald before I can find traditional Brooklyn style chicken chow main.

      • chris woo says:

        re cantonese food. you can get a (limited) fix at Jing Fong. It’s a bit pricey for dim sum but saves a trip downtown.

    4. soldier says:

      Will no patronise any cashless place. De-legitimizing cash (as in, MONEY) is stupid and condescending.

    5. Tim says:

      Agreed on the cashless epidemic! I walked out of the new Village Den last week upon seeing they were cashless and made sure the staff knew why.

    6. Juan says:

      I agree with others that going cashless is a bit extreme. However, I tend to be very old fashioned and slow to adopt new technology, but I try to use cash as little as possible. Why pay today when you can use your credit card and pay a month from now (I always pay off my credit card on time)?

      Plus most cards offer some type of rewards program where you can earn cash back or points to use for travel or merchandise. And using a credit card minimizes my trips to the bank.

      • Anon says:

        Its about employment costs and theft. Minimum wage is going to $15 an hour, going cashless requires less workers since part of the process can be fully automated without having to cause the business to raise prices.
        Also theft of cash is still a huge problem for businesses, where obviously such a thing does not exist in a cash free setting. Finally there is no security concerns from robberies, which do actually still happen. The decision is not and has nothing to do with an attack on Money

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        So Juan, what about people without credit cards?

        They’re overwhelmingly low income. Do they matter?

        • Juan says:

          Bruce – once again creating drama out of thin air. Did you read my first sentence? I wasn’t necessarily supporting them going cashless. Just because I choose to live a largely cashless existence doesn’t mean I am saying other people have to. I do believe that they are entitled to do whatever they want (within reason), and as other commenters have made clear, they risk losing business as a result. That is their prerogative.

          I was just providing a bit of perspective. Kind of like you and dannyboy do on this web site over and over and over and over again.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            sorry you have to read the “other side”, Juan. Maybe if you got off the island of Manhattan every now and then, reading “other perspectives” wouldn’t annoy you so much.

        • Sherman says:

          Hi Bruce

          You’re correct.

          I think you should start a credit card company or bank and provide low interest loans and easy credit to high risk poor people.


        • Uwspersondude says:

          What low income people are buying super expensive ice cream?

        • NotImpressed says:

          I don’t think low income people can afford this store anyway.

    7. UWS_lifer says:

      All this talk about cashless restaurants and Chinese food is great and all but can we please focus on the issues that are really important to people in this neighborhood…..

      When is the Popeye’s opening?!?!

      I think we should probably have a Mardi Gras style parade down Broadway to celebrate. Who’s with me?

      Les Bon Temps Rouler!

    8. boohoo says:

      Wow, stop trying to turn every little thing into some kind of social injustice! It’s a smart (although annoying) business model. You are in the vast minority if you use cash exclusively in 2018 and no business model is penalizing, delegitimizing, or discriminating against you for it if that is your choice. Simply move on to the next business who welcomes your cash and quit griping like a poor victim because you have to use plastic for YOUR $4 COOKIE!

      • Juan says:

        I agree 100%. Amen. Everything here gets turned into a conspiracy theory where someone is trying to oppress people. I think that is how some people get their jollies. If they are so concerned about the oppressed and downtrodden, perhaps they could spend more time out actually helping people and less time posting to a message board and creating drama where there is none. If they would enter the 21st century and use credit cards they could donate their points to help some of these people they are so concerned about imposing their unwanted help on.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          I’m glad the Juan is intimately aware of how all the WSR commenters spend their time.

          and Juan’s comment is yet another attempt to silence progressives on the WSR web site. Apparently we can’t post opinions and comments without our private lives being examined intensely — because to express a progressive opinion is “hypocritical” unless you live a live of total deprivation and monk-like charity.

          a very convenient argument, if one wants to salve the consciences of right wingers.

          “you’re worried about climate change. Well, why are you driving a car?”

          • EricaC says:

            That’s a legitimate question – why are you driving a car if you are worried about climate change?

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              because its the only way to get to work?

              living on the UWS, i don’t own a car, but i know plenty of people who do who are concerned about climate change.

              the problem won’t be solved primarily by individual actions, although these can have some impact. it’s about POLICY.

            • Dissident says:

              A better question would be directed at the not-insignificant-number of individuals who, despite living extravagant lifestyles that result in the generation of excessive, utterly gratuitous volumes of carbon emissions*, somehow muster the khutzpah to self-righteously lecture everyone else about the alleged perils of climate change. Incredibly, this lecturing and chastising of others goes so far as to demand– of everyone else— that we “sacrifice”, etc.

              (*To say nothing of other forms of toxic pollution, both literal as well as figurative.)

      • RWC says:

        Your white privilege is showing.
        Exactly what is wrong with us UWS residents that care about social justice. It’s a good thing to care about issues that face other folks less fortunate than yourself, we are in a position to advocate, and will make you a better citizen by helping improve the quality of life for others.

        I pay for everything electronically and do understand the issue for a business as a business owner, but it is important to care about others who can’t pay electronically for food.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:


          +1!! (i.e. “like”)

        • Juan says:

          Contrary to the opinion of Bruce Bernstein, I am actually a liberal Democrat. Most of my friends who live west of the Hudson River (yes, I get out of the city a lot and have actually lived in several red or purple states so I have a lot more perspective than many others) actually think I am a liberal extremist. But compared to some of the super progressives around here, I guess I appear right wing.

          I am all for social justice. I am a strong believer in helping others in any way I can. I passionately despise Donald Trump largely due to his lack of concern for others. I think the shenanigans by the new governor of Georgia that disenfranchised many minority voters are horrible. But I don’t believe in going through life entering every new situation immediately looking for a way in which someone is being oppressed. You have to pick your battles in life, and by constantly radicalizing things and looking for drama, the true injustices in society don’t get the focus they deserve.

          If poor people truly could not get access to food due to their lack of credit cards, I would be very concerned. But if it prevents them from access to overpriced ice cream, I will direct my angst elsewhere.

          Excuse my while I return to my day job where I actually spend my whole day contributing to the well being of many people much less fortunate than myself, and donate a significant portion of my moderate income from this job to charities that also help these people.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:


            I haven’t been responding to whether you are a “liberal Democrat” or a “conservative Republican”: I have no idea on either. I have been responding to the substance of your comments, which are often very dismissive of progressives who post here, and our ideas. In particular, you like to lecture us to “get off the island of Manhattan” and also tell us how we should spend our time. In doing so, you are making a lot of assumptions (in my case, false) and also engaging in de facto personal attacks.

            I and others have been advocating for school desegregation. The plans being put forward are actually incredibly modest, not “radical” at all. School desegregation is a fundamental liberal/left issue. Further, a lot of the commenters i am responding to are posting bluntly racist remarks, which should not be allowed to sit. They are kind of shocking, actually.

            It appears that you work in a social service field (as i do). I can appreciate this, and appreciate the difficulties. And in that spirit, i offer you a “truce” for the holiday season, and beyond.

            if you can tone if back on “get off the island of Manhattan” and similar comments, i will make every effort to stick to commentary on the issues and try to limit my sarcasm, at least in your case.

            there are other commenters on WSR who deserve as much sarcasm as i can muster. No truce for them.

            Happy Holidays!

        • Ohplease says:

          White privilege! Another ridiculous buzz concept created by the media to attempt to make someone feel guilty for something they have no control over. Oh wait, lets urge the white children to emancipate themselves from their well to do parents when they sense the “privilege” coming on.

    9. Mark Moore says:

      I’m amazed you can really make money just selling ice cream in this neighborhood.

    10. wendy says:

      the new kosher place sounds, from its description, exactly like the old kosher place.

    11. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      the iussue of acceptance of cash as legal tender at all stores is a legitimate issue, no matter how much the ice cream costs. It has become an issue in the city, hence the City COuncil bill. it is an economic equity issue.

      Interestingly, where i work in Central Queens, there are many businesses that ONLY accept cash, including some very popular restaurants.