Neighborhood Suddenly Loses Fried Chicken and Vegan Restaurants

Two Upper West Side restaurants catering to very different appetites closed in the last few days.

KFC on 106th and Broadway shut its doors and directed people to its other restaurants, Bobby Panza tells us. He sent in the photo above. Thankfully, a Popeye’s is coming to the neighborhood soon.

And Blossom du Jour, a vegan restaurant at 449 Amsterdam Avenue (between 81st & 82nd St.) closed last weekend. An employee at another location told us that rising costs, including for rent and food, caused the closure. “It was the only casual vegan eatery in the neighborhood unfortunately,” wrote Jody. There’s another Blossom du Jour in the Turnstyle mall at Columbus Circle.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 56 comments | permalink
    1. UWSJoe says:

      Super good news about the KFC closing!

      Let’s get a Chik-fil-a in there stat!

      • Debra says:

        Chick Fil A would not do well on the UWS. Many of us
        never go there. The company is owned by super right-wing religious zealots and they have a horrible history of discrimination against LGBTQA people. No thanks!

        • UWSJoe says:

          Bwahahaha. Whatever.

          Even the UWS doorman building marxists won’t be able to resist the tasty Chick-Fil-A frozen lemonade.

        • Regarding Chik-fil-A, the owner is a religious Christian opposed to same-sex marriage, but he serves and hires all people, regardless of sexuality.

          • roxanne says:

            If you were LGBT, Shalom, would you eat there? Not sure that being willing to take your money & being willing to have you work for it makes a business LGBT friendly enough. Pretty low bar, eh?

        • Smh says:

          Hear hear!

        • robert says:

          So why I the heart of NYU’s area is the Chick Fil A doing very well????? Because it serves “real” food at a great price to real people.

          It wasn’t that long ago when UWSers were bemoaning Starbucks as the “evil corporation” and now people are petitioning the companies HQ to keep open a store in the heart of the UWS.
          There will be a Chick Fil A on the UWS sooner than you might think.

          • roxanne says:

            The simple reason why the NYU Chick-Fil-A is thriving is that people like tasty food. I wasn’t saying that Chick-Fil-A wouldn’t succeed in NYC because of their politics. I was just saying that Shalom’s defense of them rings hollow. Agreeing to take customers’ money and agreeing to let people do thankless manual labor for your fast-food joint does not elevate Chick-Fil-A’s stance on LGBT people to any kind of acceptable level. It simply indicates that Chick-Fil-A is willing to make money on the backs of LGBT people. Color me not impressed.

        • Glitter says:

          What do you mean “many of us” ? You mean you and you’re crotchety friends? They invented the chicken sandwich!!! It’s amazing. Take it for what it is, a delicious sandwich, or for what the owner believes in. Btw just because he chooses not to donate money to LGBTQ causes doesn’t make him a bigot.

          • Nadine says:

            He isn’t just “choosing not to donate money to LGBT causes.” He opposes LGBT rights. Two different things. No one said he’s a bigot. But I, for one, will say he is dangerous.

        • Alan Murphy says:

          Are you kidding? They would crush it anywhere on the UWS. Every time they open a new location in the city, there are lines out the door day after day. They’re looking at the old Cafe Gigi at 72nd & Broadway, so there might be one there within a year or so…

      • SMH says:

        Ckik fila is anti gay. Rather see a Popeyes.

        • Alan Murphy says:

          This may come as a shock to you but I’m gay and eat at Chick-Fil-A. I have a lot gay friends who also do the same. The deliciousness of their chicken outweighs whatever stupid comment their CEO made five years ago or whatever. Also, Popeyes will be open soon at 95th & Broadway

          • Nadine says:

            I’m gay, too. Being gay doesn’t mean we’re ethically obligated to abstain from frequenting anti-gay businesses. But make no mistake–there’s no such thing as “whatever stupid comment their CEO made 5 years ago.” Rather, that should read, “views that the CEO would love to see codified into law.”

            People/companies with money have lots of political pull. They can take away our rights much more quickly than we got them.

          • Tmack says:

            Chik fil A pumped millions of dollars into California’s Prop 8 which removed LGBT protections and rights. One of it’s largest donors, outside the Mormon Church. This was much more than just a few comments. Eat their, admittedly, delicious sandwiches if you want, but know what your dollars are buying.

          • SSSZ says:

            Well, that’s a stupid thing to do. Putting money in the pockets of those who oppress you just because they make fried chicken is totally self-destructive. Save it for Popeye’s, or go to a Chinese take-out, or make your own.

            • WSR 4eva says:

              Agreed. It never ceases to alarm/depress me how consumers underestimate the power of their everyday spending. In these times, being rich or famous means having the ability to influence elections and referendums. It’s highly unlikely that any law will succeed in changing that fact. So, if you don’t think that owning a chicken sandwich company should mean you have any more say on marriage than the rest of us do, your sole means of voicing that is to stop giving said chicken sandwich company your money. Fear not–you’ll find other tasty things.

      • Joe says:

        We do not eat the chicken of hate.

    2. Ellen says:

      So sad to hear about Blossom du Jour! I’m not vegan, but I loved their salads and Midtown Melt sandwich. Delivery was always fresh and super fast. There is a Blossom on Columbus and 84th, but it’s a more expensive sit-down type restaurant versus the grab-and-go style at Blossom du Jour.

      • Jay says:

        BDJ has gone downhill lately. The staff didn’t care (and it showed) and the food quality has really suffered. It was good while it lasted.

        • BDJ forever says:

          I disagree. I always found the staff to be SO friendly and caring that I actually had to resign myself to having a full-on conversation with them (when sometimes I was just tired and didn’t feel like talking).

    3. Leon says:

      I’m much more sad about KFC than Blossom. The KFC was a little sketchy and I went very rarely, but sometimes it hit the spot.

    4. soldier says:

      When Sarah Jessica Parker decided suddenly to advocate for $15/hour minimum wage for restaurant workers, they protested as loud as they could. They said that celebrities are ignorant of the fact that non-chain (and some chain!) and franchise restaurants can’t pay this and keep all their staff employed. But of course celebrities know better what people really need, right? The result: places shut down or fire most workers.

      • B.W. says:

        Yes. This must all be SJP’s fault. *eye roll*

      • Mr. Bigger says:

        Pipe down, Samantha.

      • RS says:

        You’re implying that KFC shut down because it had to pay a nearly-living wage. There are no facts to support this. Many restaurants have shut down and nearly all blame rising rents. In any case, a business that can’t pay even a nearly-living wage to its employees doesn’t deserve to exist.

        • robert says:

          Just remember that its very PC on the UWS to blame it on the “evil landlord” that raised their rent. Maybe so maybe not. When someone goes out of biz there is usually more than one simplistic reason

        • soldier says:

          To call KFC a restaurant = calling McDonalds “chicken” a chicken. And yes, the national chains, especially franchises, didn’t grow because of quality of their super-fast food. They grew by underpaying workers and cutting all imaginable corners.They fold when law and quality are enforced.

      • Sherman says:

        DeBlasio is also fighting for 10 days paid vacation.

        This sounds good at first glance but with the $15 minimum wage and high rents many restaurants and other small businesses are already struggling.

        If DeBlasio’s plan goes thru expect higher prices at restaurants, layoffs and more closings.

        • Cato says:

          As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          the campaign for $15 minimum wage was spearheaded by the workers themselves, not Sarah Jessica Parker! Ask the low wage workers if they are happy with this higher wage.

          I love the way some of these rich guys who live in high end condos — you know who you are — are complaining that low wage workers, many of whom have two jobs, lengthy commutes, and live in studio apartments with one or more children — will now get paid vacations. what an outrage!!!

          if capitalism can’t give decent wages, health care, and even a minimum paid vacation, it is capitalism that is not working. i thought it was this great economic system that lifts everyone up? a few regulations to establish minimum labor standards won’t hurt anybody, and will help hundreds of thousands of workers in NYC.

          • Sherman says:

            Hi Bruce

            Maybe you should stop turning every post into an opportunity to foment class warfare.

            Rational people can debate whether or not a $15 minimum wage and mandatory paid vacation is morally and economically justified.

            The point is there are trade offs to say it “won’t hurt anybody” is ludicrous.

            The trade off is that small businesses that are already struggling will likely either go out of business, lay-off workers and/or raise prices.

            Low skilled workers who lose their jobs, already struggling small business owners who might be forced to close their business and consumers who will inevitably pay higher prices will not be “happy”.

            Sherm

          • Aaron B. says:

            But, Bruce don’t you live in a high-end condo that you own?

          • Leda says:

            Agree! And maybe now those workers can afford to to eat there with their families sometimes.

      • Econ101 says:

        100% correct. The same proposal was floated in the city of Washington DC by the City Council, and after massive protests by restaurant workers against it, the uber-liberal Council voted it down.

        • chrigid says:

          I don’t remember “massive protests by restaurant workers against” $15hr in DC. Can you provide some citations? Thanks

    5. Mary says:

      I love KFC on a very rare occasion and used to stop in to this on from time to time for a fix, but they’ve had a grade pending sign up for ages and the cleanliness level there always seemed a bit suspect, so I had avoided it.

    6. Meredith says:

      It is a shame about Blossom, but Peacefoods is practically across the street, at 82nd and Amsterdam, so there is at least one other casual vegan option in the neighborhood.

    7. Robert says:

      Keep raising those salaries!

    8. iz says:

      Maybe Mama’s Too can move into the KFC spot–bigger, corner spot! I know they’re looking for something bigger. Wonder if something will move into the KFC or Macchinna space first?

    9. Johnny Culver says:

      That KFC was disgusting. It was visited mostly by bus drivers using the restroom and getting free food.

    10. wombatNYC says:

      Bring back La Rosita . That’s what should go into the KFC space . They had the best breakfast

    11. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      when a landlord doubles the rent, and thus a restaurant or small store goes out of business, all the right wing pro-landlord types say, “well, this is capitalism. the store didn’t have a good business model. tough tomatoes.”

      yet when the minimum wage goes up by $1, these same people are the first ones to cry “unfair!!” “you’re harming small businesses!”

      it’s really all about this: how should the social product (economic product) be divided? the right wingers want as much as possible to go to landlords and other “rentiers” (shareholders in KFC, for example). those of us who are more progressive want to see workers, particularly low wage workers, get a larger share.

      in the past 40 years in the US, the right wingers have been winning, as capital’s share has gone up and labor’s share has gone down. thus the increased poverty, increased economic stress, embattled middle class, and huge inequality.

      hopefully, the tide has started to turn. and the right wingers are whining like stuck pigs.

    12. Zanarkand says:

      Popeyes is coming…fear not!!

    13. StevenCinNYC says:

      Mana Restaurant on Amsterdam between 91st and 92nd has lots of vegan options, plus macrobiotic and organic. So there is another casual restaurant that serves vegan food in the neighborhood, and I like it better anyway.

    14. Linda says:

      There is another place in the area…The fabulous Peacefoods is on Amsterdam at 82nd. Not to be missed, vegan or not. They have a great PFC (Peacefoods Fried Chicken) that needs to be tried to be believed. I cannot wall by without getting their soup special to take home any time of day. And great to buy non-dairy baked goods to take to parties so everyone can eat them. All while caring for the animals, the environment and health! Wins
      all around.

    15. SAD SAD SAD says:

      Blossom Du Jour was a godsend in many ways. The place was clearly committed to LGBT rights, with and emphasis on the T. Name another restaurant in this vein, and the only one is Peacefood (less visibly so). For everyone saying that Peacefood is the same as BDJ, I love the former, but it’s a sit-down, table service place. BDJ was not. That’s a big difference when you’re vegan or just have food intolerances that few places (except for these) cater to, and when you don’t want to pay for/wait for table service. I adored the food and vibe at BDJ. The staff always bent over backwards to be friendly and accommodating. I can get my Midtown Melt fix at Turnstyle, sure, but that’s a touristy zoo I don’t often visit. Some will respond that plenty of mainstream venues can accommodate food intolerances/restrictions–and sure, they can. But they can’t offer a whole menu of food that’s safe for me, the way that BDJ did. It was a rare treat to know I could have such a wide selection, and in a wonderfully progressive vibe. I still miss your location by LaGuardia High School, BDJ. Know you are valued. I hope you find another space in the 80s or 90s.

    16. Michael P Muscaro says:

      The 84th St. location was a hot mess. You had to order ahead online and the menu is inadequate. Blossom is a much better choice.

    17. B.B. says:

      Why NYC restaurants are having difficulty calculating rents they can afford: https://ny.eater.com/2019/1/11/18178358/restaurant-rent-nyc-calculation-closings

      Above piece lays things out very nicely. It mentions things myself and others have said all along; basic business plans factor rent and other costs as a certain percentages of sales. Everything has their own line; rent, labor, inventory, taxes, etc…

      Problem is that RE in NYC (and in particular Manhattan) isn’t cheap any longer. When Union Square Café opened hardly anyone went down there, now of course 14th street and points south are the hottest areas of Manhattan.

      It’s all very well for some to say “pay them $15/hr.”, who only have themselves to consider. But where is a business (restaurant) owner going to get that money?

      Common sense dictates when costs go up so does a price of a good or service. However those two fundamental laws of economics; elasticity and inelasticity come onto play.

      Unless a place is selling/offering a service that is so rare and or highly desired that people will pay *anything*, everything else has a natural market limit as to what people will pay. At some point they will either substitute a good or service with something else, and or simply decline to purchase at all.