Openings & Closings: Perfect Picnic, Marinara, Made in NY Pizza, St. Francis Thrift Store, Orange Theory


Photo via Perfect Picnic.

Perfect Picnic has opened at 405 Central Park West at 100th Street. The store creates picnic boxes that encourage you to “take it outside.”  Picnic packages range from a $10 kids picnic to a $35 classic picnic to a $500 ultimate picnic with caviar and more. “We focus on delicious high quality food, for a reasonable price that travels well..to the park your office or your living room!” wrote owner Wendy Weston in an email to West Side Rag.

Marinara Pizza opened its new location in the former home of Polpette on Amsterdam between 83rd and 84th Streets. As we wrote before, they’re famous for cauliflower-crust pizza, among other delicacies. See the menu here and here, courtesy of The Crunchy Radish. Thanks also to Allison for the tip.

Made in New York Pizza opened last month in the former home of Barley & Grain at 80th Street and Amsterdam. We first wrote about it in November. With 45 reviews on Yelp, it’s holding on to a perfect 5-star score so far. “There’s a lot of lousy pizza on the UWS but this is the good pizza place that the neighborhood has been missing all these years,” one Yelper wrote. Hey, who you calling lousy?

St. Francis Thrift Store at 214 West 97th Street 217 West 96th Street, which had been closed for months, just reopened and is accepting donations. “Our new hours will be Tuesday through Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. Donations will be accepted on the weekends during store hours,” the website says. There are several items they don’t take, so check the website. Thanks to Rob and Cary.

Orange Theory fitness studio just opened on 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus. “Best all around workout with running, rowing and/weights during the hour long class. If you’re not into the running or rowing, there’s always a bike to swap for the run or row section of the class,” wrote tipster Edith Chen.

ShiShi, the boutique clothing store on Broadway between 92nd and 93rd Streets, is closed for renovations. “Just a bit of a facelift. We’re not going anywhere,” the store said on Facebook. They plan to reopen next week.

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

      Wow. 2 new pizza places. Ground breaking.

    2. Walt says:

      Again I have to point out how disappointing these new places are. No vegan cheese options at Marinara and no vegan or vegetarian options mentioned (beyond a side salad) at Perfect Picnic. Even if you eat meat you should find this unacceptable. It’s time for this to change. These places have lost my business before they have opened!

      • Jose Habib says:

        I find vegan cheese unacceptable.

      • Ponald Pump says:

        Sad!

      • Colleen says:

        I agree Walt

      • DC says:

        Walt, I agree, too

      • J.T. says:

        Rather than not patronizing places that don’t carry veg options, I make it a point to kindly request them. They may not be aware of the demand unless they hear from potential customers.

        I’m happy to see that there are quite a few pizza places in the neighborhood that offer non-dairy cheese – Two Boots (two vegan options available by the slice!), Cafe Viva (lots of veg options, though not as tasty as Two Boots down the block, in my opinion), Freddie & Peppers, My Pie, Oath, and, I’m sure, others.

    3. Evan Bando says:

      My Pie Pizzeria Romana on 72nd Street, a few doors down from Gray’s Papaya, is the best pizza on the Upper West Side and beyond. From the special dough and ingredients they use to the consistently friendly service and reasonable price they charge for such large square slices, there is no reason to go anywhere else.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        My Pie is very overrated. There is a reason you only see women and children in there — it is not a real, filling slice of pizza. It’s fancy, delicate “restaurant pizza”. The NY Times got it right picking Mama’s Too the best pizza in all of NYC.

        • Pizzatruther says:

          Can you please provide a citation for the Times picking Mama’s Too as the “best pizza in all of NYC?” Wells made no such claim in his (excellent) review of Mama’s Too. Additionally, the article “Best Pizza in N.Y.C: Try These 10 Slices” made no claims of being exhastive and the fact that Mama’s Too was profiled first in the article was not an implication that it is the “best”

      • L.K. says:

        I like My Pie too–great value for a healthy pizza. I’ve seen men there too–not just women and children!

    4. YoungSally says:

      The picnic place will be interesting – but I’m not sure it will replace Bennies (?) the old place on Amsterdam in the low 70s that carried the best picnic foods – his lentil salad was phenomenal.

      • Ally says:

        I had a delicious Greek salad there on Saturday and a baguette Just to try I was surprised how good it was. I’m looking forward to trying one of their actual picnic options for the park when it gets warmer out. It is refreshing to have something different that isn’t a bodega or Starbucks.

    5. sputnik says:

      WSR: The St Francis Thrift Store link you provided states the store address as 207 W. 96th, not 214 W. 97th, as you have it here. Please clarify: Is this a new store or a re-opening of an old store?

      • Zeb Gafri says:

        Store is located in the lower portion of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus hence dual addresses.

      • Heather Miben says:

        Same thrift shop located under the church on 96th Street. I believe they had been shutdown by the New York City Department of Buildings due to violations.

    6. Jeff says:

      Seems like we’re witnessing a legitimate UWS pizza boom in recent months/years.

      In addition to Marinara and Made in NY, there’s been Mama’s Too, Oath, My Pie, Saba’s, Sirenetta and Motorino (and also Champion if you count Columbus Circle). Heck, even Orwashers is selling pizza now.

      Good times.

    7. sputnik says:

      PS to my earlier question to WSR: Now I see that St Francis has both the 96th St and 97th St addresses on their home page. Can you clarify where the store actually is?

    8. Orin says:

      Wonderful news for many of us. I prefer to donate to St. Francis over Housing Works and have been saving things for a couple of years., St.,Francis sells,for much lower prices, though their prices seemed to have risen since Housing Works opened close by.,

    9. Jeff_In_The_UWS says:

      The pizza at made in new york looks great! Excited to try. Sounds like bad luck for Marinara to open right at the same time! Also — the added pizza is great, but i need a place to get my chicken parm sub fix!

      • Kathi says:

        I went to mama too’s for the first time!!
        AMAZING crust …. gotta be butter in there!!

      • Sue says:

        I was disappointed in the pizza at Marinara. It was tasty enough- but I don’t like think, doughy crust.

        I prefer the thinner crust at Oath.

        Still don’t know how This place is looking so enough slices of pizza to make their rent.

    10. Jeff says:

      Francesco’s at 68th/Columbus is the best pizza we’ve got.

    11. Juan says:

      I still prefer the relatively simple, small pizza by the slice place on the east side of Amsterdam between 79 and 80 (I’m not sure of their name, but the pizza is really good and the price is right).

      But different strokes for different folks, so if others prefer the other places, I wish them the best of luck, as long as they don’t take away business from my favorite spot.

    12. Leslie says:

      We’ve ordered from Perfect Picnic several times when they were downtown. Their food is always delicious and always had vegetarian options

    13. Enough already says:

      Enough with the pizza stores🍕… too many already🤮

    14. jerry says:

      Made in New York Pizza – none better! Great sauce, cheese, tomato and attitude – Mama’s Too…none of the above.

    15. Ellen says:

      Sounds like I need to do a “pizza crawl” to try all these new places! We really love Saba’s but gotta give some love to our most local spot, Freddie and Peppers. A little inconsistent, but when it’s good it’s good.

    16. I beg to differ. Little Italy Pizza (71/B’way, 93/B’way) is a perfect slice. Open 24 hours besides.

    17. TheDoughIsPretzel-y! says:

      It’s Sal & Carmine’/ all the way. And no, I will not be entertaining rebuttals.

    18. chris woo says:

      my whole family went to Made in New York a few weeks ago–no raves (two teenagers and two adults). Personally I found the sauce too sweet.

    19. SM says:

      Made in NY Pizza may be getting sued for theft of trade secrets for that pizza. The head pizza maker there used to work at Prince Street Pizza and allegedly took the recipes. Just the next chapter in NY Pizza Legal Wars.

      https://nypost.com/2019/01/08/pizza-joints-owner-claims-former-worker-stole-his-secret-recipe/

    20. Marie says:

      We tried Made In NY last week and found it meh. It was ok and edible but nothing special. We usually get Pizza Pete’s once a week but will have to try a couple others mentioned here soon.

    21. Glitter says:

      Long live Freddy & Peppers

    22. Chuck says:

      Sal & Carmines, especially when Luciano is making pizzas!

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        Chuck hits the nail on the head. Louie (Luciano) makes excellent pizzas and also understands timing: he doesn’t make a whole bunch at the start of the day and let them sit there. he knows that pizza is so much better “fresh out of the oven.”

        sadly, the other workers at S&C’s do not make pies as good as Louie’s, or as the two founders made.

        I am almost embarrassed these days to go into a pizza place and ask which slices are the freshest. The workers usually tell me “they all are.”

    23. Andrew says:

      I agree, Chris, Made in NY is a bust and I won’t go back. Ditto for overpriced Oath. I agree with Michael P. that Little Italy has something really special going on, particularly with the crust, and then there’s good ole Freddie & Pepper’s that also delivers the goods (two ways). Mama’s Too is sui generis delicious.

    24. Jack says:

      Haven’t tried Marinara yet, but Made in NY is fantastic! Typical UWS’ers here – always someone complaining about something. These are neat, clean, and well built out places that serve good food for the neighborhood. They also have plenty of seating, and at night they’re well lit and inviting. If folks weren’t complaining about too many pizza places or lack of some small margin dietary request it’d be about an empty storefront and the big bad landlord out to get you. Or too many banks or pharmacies. Then again, when I read that people are actually petitioning to save the Starbucks on 76th I knew I’d seen it all

      • Alan Murphy says:

        Lol this is the best comment I’ve seen on here. So true!

      • sj says:

        Hi Jack.
        With all due respect, seems like complaining about the complaints of others is still complaining….🙂

        But would agree that am puzzled that so many people bothering to dtermine the “best” pizza.