Openings & Closings: About Coffee, Big Bag, Taqueria Menu, New Dessert Shop, Bra Smyth

About Coffee, which serves coffee and pastries, just opened at 445 Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets. “Their Soho store is great — very happy to have them here,” writes our tipster Mike. “Was in today speaking with the owner, Hany. A lot of coffee in the neighborhood, but other than Starbucks (which is awful) there aren’t any boutique spots for a few blocks. Nice addition.” Mark P. adds: “Prices are competitive ($3 espresso shot and the interior is nice and spacious.” About Coffee has a location downtown and one in Brooklyn. They explain their story here.

West End Taqueria is now open at the corner of 96th and West End and Adam took a photo of the menu. Chicken flautas “drowned” in green sauce, $8.50. Fresh guac, $12.50. Shrimp tacos, $4.25. See the whole menu here.

Big Bag just opened at 221 West 79th Street, the former home of Voila Chocolat. “Bags, scarves, jewellery and the like,” writes Rachel.

A new dessert shop is getting ready to open in the former home of Rita‘s Water Ice at 92nd and Broadway, which has been empty for over a year. The name of the shop is stil unclear, but the awning makes it clear what they’ll be selling. Thanks to Taylor for the tip.

Bra Smyth has closed its location at 2191 Broadway (78th). They asked us to post the following message:

“Bra Smyth has loved being on the Upper West Side, we have felt a real sense of connection with the community and our many loyal customers. There is a special feeling of warmth in the neighborhood and a unique bonding among the residents.  The present declining retail market and 2 plus years of struggling under scaffolding made it more efficient to join our Madison Avenue Store. We bring our friendly staff, our years of fitting expertise and superior selection to our new home at 905 Madison between 72nd and 73rd Look forward to seeing you on the Upper East Side. 212-772-9400.”

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 42 comments | permalink
    1. Lisa says:

      The new Big Bag location is wonderful! Very spacious and lots of great bags!

    2. Kathleen says:

      Bra Smyth. Another bites the dust.

    3. KL185 says:

      Big Bag closed it’s W. 72nd Street location and relocated to W. 79th Street.

      • Filatura says:

        Is that the old Goodwill Thrift Shop location? Nice to see that it’s not another nail salon or cell phone store. I’ll be stopping in; it’s just across from my favorite UWS haunt, the wonderful Knitty City.

    4. Terence says:

      I stopped in for lunch at West End Taqueria. I was hungry and so normally 2 tacos would have been fine. But I tried the shrimp, pork, and beef, with a Jarritos Tamarind soda. Waitress service was pleasant, they were playing Carlos Santana at a low, listenable volume, and with tax and tip it was 17 bucks.
      Tasted terrific, will go back some evening and bring beer ;>)

    5. dannyboy says:

      Needed to takeout West End Taqueria because no beer.

      I guess it’ll be a better destination in Winter, what with being inside and all (and maybe beer). Better prices at the truck if it’s going to be takeout.

    6. Robert says:

      I doubt the west end taqueria will last. The place is expensive and also the super tacos truck at the corner of 96st is cheaper. Super tacos and West end Taqueria are owned by the same person.

      • dannyboy says:

        Perhaps the food truck is preparing for their ultimate demise in their current location by opening the West End Taqueria.

        Chase did the same. Gristedes closed. I guess Extell is changing the composition of the neighborhood again

        • Roberto says:

          No the taco truck will go infront of the Key food at 97st thats their second spot if the corner of 96st is not available and if they get removed thats where they will be at.

      • Mark Moore says:

        $15.50 for a burrito?

      • Ll says:

        I don’t get the point of a taqueria there when the last taqueria lasted, what, a year, if that.

        It will only last if the truck moves

    7. geoff says:

      This ‘under the scaffolding’ excuse for failing businesses troubles me. I am loyal to very few stores and to those I am, I am loyal because they sell things I want, need, must travel far to get otherwise, or cant get elsewhere at all.

      Are there people—actual, so called ‘loyal’ customers— who, when scaffolding goes up at their favourite places, say to themselves, friends and family, ‘Oh rats, cant go there any more—we’ll have to go without. Scaffolding—I will NOT walk into any store beneath scaffolding.”

      Anybody? What is the scenario? Even as a writer trying to imagine (let alone write) the scene in a move, I can’t.


      • Carmen says:

        It restricts tourists and casual shoppers who get distracted, no one thinks construction awnings help business. That said, I passed a restaurant with outdoor seating under a construction awning. They hung strings of fairy lights and it looked very inviting and appealing. And you had to wait for a seat.

      • woodcider says:

        Business don’t survive without a steady stream of new customers. Scaffolding interferes with visibility. You can’t pull in new clients if they can’t see you.

      • Celia302 says:

        Loyal customers do visit when scaffolding goes up but businesses need new customers and that group will likely not go in.

      • EricaC says:

        It cuts walk-in traffic. Whether imaginable or not, statistics support the conclusion that scaffolding cuts business.

    8. dannyboy says:

      Filicori Zecchini has served espresso for 100 years. Lots of experience.

    9. T says:

      What are we in tacoland? It feels like almost every other new restaurant is a taco place. In the past we had the frozen yogurt capital, then the influx of bakeries. Very weird

    10. Miranda Smith says:

      Just what we need up here. Handbags and more coffee. What about a supermarket??

      • BillyNYC says:

        There’s something about our area that supermarkets don’t like?

        Now I wonder what could that be ?

    11. BillyNYC says:

      About Coffee?
      Not another Coffee place and this is right next to Starbucks and a block from Billy‘s Bakery. Not to mention the $1. cheap coffee at Andy’s deli.

      • Sarah says:

        Lol- Starbucks is disgusting, and artisan coffee shops don’t see them as competition. Plus, who in their right mind is going to Andy’s for a Latte? Also, way to have a positive attitude about a cool, local neighborhood business. I’ve stopped into About several times now and quite frankly it’s delicious, everyone is so kind, and I have room to set up and work. Welcome About!

    12. Linda says:

      I’ve shopped at the former w.72nd Big Bag store and am so happy it has moved north. They have NYC’s best-curated selection of bags,and lovely accessories. Beautiful jewelry, too. My husband loves the backpack he purchased there, and my daughter and I are crazy about our bags.

    13. Uwesider says:

      The West End Taqueria is delicious! I hope they make a go of a tough location.

    14. Emily says:

      The name of the new spot taking over Rita’s space on Broadway is Gelotti. Original location in NJ and this is their first NYC location.

      • Melissa says:

        Whew – I saw the headline and thought Big Bag may have closed – I’m so glad they just relocated as I was almost beside myself. They are such a gem and curate the most stylish high quality lightweight bags that transcend trends. I always get compliments on them. Looking forward to checking out the new location.

      • Taylor says:

        Thank you! I wrote in to WSR hoping they would know what it was.

    15. Mary says:

      I’m sure no one here will bemoan the demise of a cellphone shop, but when did the Verizon store at 109th and Broadway close? I went there this weekend and was surprised to find they’d flown the coop!

    16. sam says:

      Cannot see West End Taqueria succeeding. The prices are high – I mean, $7.00 for chips and salsa??? And while high prices aren’t necessarily a death knell for a restaurant, there are so many Mexican places nearby. Why would you want to shell out $$ to sit in a small space overlooking the worst intersection in the neighborhood.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        I can’t think of a worse location, there is no foot traffic. I think I go to West End Avenue about once a year. I don’t see it lasting to 2020.

    17. Sid says:

      It was called Rita’s Italian Ice. Water Ice???

      • Taylor says:

        Yelp says it was called Rita’s Water Ice.

        I’m from the Philly area and that’s how we always referred to it. Technically the name is just Rita’s.

        • Sid says:

          Yelp is incorrect then. If you go to their official website, they refer to themselves as Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard.

          N.B. Yelp is often user-submitted information, unless the restaurant takes control of their own Yelp page.

    18. Mark Moore says:

      As long as the truck is around and it’s not freezing out, I’ll skip West End Taqueria and go to the truck. Good to see though that “We Delivery” made it to both sides of the corner sign.

    19. Ethan says:

      Apparently Bra Smyth is closings its westside store due to a lack of support. Cross my heart!