Openings & Closings: Sapphire, Sneaker Pawn, Van Leeuwen, Calle Ocho

Sapphire Indian Cuisine at 1845 Broadway (61st) will close by the end of the month because the building is being demolished, according to owner Satish Arora. He says he’s looking to move somewhere in the neighborhood but “the rents are quite high.” Sapphire (a personal favorite) has been around 21 years. If you know of a restaurant space, give Satish a call! Thanks to Gerald and Gaby for the tips. “Very sad to pass on the bad news,” wrote Gaby.

Van Leeuwen ice cream has put up its signs in the window of 253 Columbus Avenue between 71st and 72nd Street, the former home of Big Drop. It says it will be “scooping soon” but we don’t have an exact date yet.

A store called Sneaker Pawn is apparently coming to Broadway between 105th & 106th street. There was a store by that name that allowed people to pawn their sneakers in Harlem and there was also a location on 14th Street, but it’s not clear that this is the same company. The phone number at those locations was not in service.

Calle Ocho is applying for a liquor license at 2756 Broadway near 106th Street. The notice says that it will have a rear garden. That’s the former home of West End Hall. The hearing is set for June 12 at 6:30 p.m. A Calle Ocho employee did not have further information on the restaurant’s plans. Thanks to John for the tip.
FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 29 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      Sapphire is one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the city. Very sorry to see it go. I hope they reopen in the neighborhood.

      But it is located in a small and old building in one of the most exclusive sections of the city. It’s inevitable that the building will be demolished.

    2. MarkR says:

      The former Saffron restaurant space is still available at 75th & Columbus! Quick! Call Satish.

    3. Paul says:

      Sapphire is the best!
      This is a real loss.

    4. B.B. says:

      It was announced last year that permits had been filed for new mixed use 24 floor development at 1841 Broadway.

    5. B.B. says:

      Hit enter before completing prior post.

      Global Holdings owns 1845, 1841 and 1880 Broadway. So it seems they assembled adjoining lots to make best use of FAR (floor area ratio) to give them that 24 story tower.

      Sad in away as 1854 Broadway went up in 1884, and is one of the few “old” remaining buildings Lincoln Square area remaining.

    6. Sabrina says:

      Very sad about Sapphire, it’s a great restaurant and I have many wonderful memories there.

    7. George says:

      I’m hoping this will be a second location for Calle Ocho (and an exciting one at that — the outdoor space at this Broadway location is wonderful), rather than a transition away from their 81st Street space. As much as I think the entree prices have gotten way too high, there aren’t many options in the 70s or 80s for a great mojito (though I’m eagerly awaiting Don Pedro’s on Columbus).

    8. MF says:

      Yes, Sapphire is very good. Hope they find a new place on the UWS.

    9. mari says:

      Sad to hear the Sapphire’s closing and it’s also sad to learn the building will be demolished. I remember when Luigi’s dance studio was on the second floor. It’s such an iconic building in the neighborhood. No doubt it will be replaced with one more glass tower.

    10. Big Earl says:

      Sneaker Pawn. Good to know if I need a quick buck. Just not sure how much they will give me for my $60 pair of Asics gel sneakers size 12 worn daily for the last six months.

    11. soldier says:

      The “For Rent” sign is gone from the former Gristedes place on 86th off Broadway. Any information on that?

      • Carlos says:

        Interesting – thanks for sharing. I’m not 100% sure the configuration allows it, but I would think that space would likely be combined with the also empty street level retail space (I think it was Gap and/or Banana Republic?) to make one very large store.

      • AJ says:

        Interesting, I hope it’s something good!

    12. jimbo says:

      I’m crying in my RASAM.

    13. dek says:

      Anyone know what’s going into the storefront between Eileen Fisher and the old Isabella’s on Columbus/77th?

      • George says:

        I’m hoping 353 Columbus Ave will go the way of food use rather than retail, particularly something casual and affordable that can provide some alternatives to Shake Shack and Cafe Frida.

        8th Hill and Asset will have fine-dining covered. And if Jack’s ever opens we’ll have more coffee options in the area again. But good, affordable options from 75th to 80th on Columbus seem hard to come by since Gazala’s and Saffron closed.

    14. C says:

      I hope Sapphire reopens, maybe farther uptown. I like Manhattan Valley quite a lot (Broadway & 100th) but I don’t know of any really good Indian food in between.

    15. izzy says:

      Anyone know if something is going in the old Macchina/Gato Nero space? It’s all papered up and looks like there could be work happening inside. WSR–any insight??

    16. jimbo says:

      What’s up with the old Food City????

      • Mark Moore says:

        Nothing it seems. That site has been vacant for around six years now. So much rent they could have collected if they just let Food City have that long-term lease they were looking for.

    17. George says:

      Anyone know if Da Luce at 464 Columbus Avenue is still having issues with the building, or if they’re moving forward? It has now been three years that the “Coming Soon” sign has been in the papered window.

    18. Harriet says:

      According to a guy with a video camera in front of Sneaker Pawn on Broadway at 105th just now who was trying to shoo people away from the store entrance, it’s not really a store: it’s just a set for a movie. He didn’t share which movie.

    19. steve says:

      when the heck is that rooster place opening on columbus between 84th and 83rd? I think it’s called rooster something.. Anyway it’s been forever

      • George says:

        Le Petit Rooster seems just about ready — the space looks finished and they’ve had signs for hiring positions over the past couple weeks. I’d be surprised if they’re not open by mid-June.

    20. Sean says:

      Re-open Arthur Treacher’s.