Restaurant News: Box Kite’s Big Win, Shake Shack ‘Refresh’ Coming, Arba Profile

Shake Shack lines may get shorter next year.

Upper West Side restaurants are getting attention these days, and mostly for good things.

Box Kite at 128 West 72nd Street was mentioned as one of the best coffee shops in the country by Food & Wine magazine. While it didn’t make the top 10 on the magazine’s list, it was mentioned as one of the “best of the rest.” “The last thing you’re expecting to find on West 72nd Street (mid block, yet) is one of Manhattan’s most studiously committed multi-roaster cafes, but that’s half the fun.”

Shake Shack on 77th and Columbus is going to get a refresh next year, according to QSR magazine. The upgrade will be similar to one that just happened at the Shake Shack in the Theater District, which got new kiosks, upgraded kitchen equipment, and a new layout meant to reduce the sometimes very long lines. That said, there’s a chance the revamp could mean the restaurant gets closed temporarily, according to QSR. “Some of the remodels will include temporary closures, Garutti said, which will be incorporated into the company’s total revenue outlook for 2020—something Shake Shack plans to share at year’s end.”

The Forward interviewed Nir Zook, the well-known Israeli chef at newish Kosher restaurant Arba at 472 Columbus Avenue (83rd). He said he finds Michelin-starred restaurants “fucking boring,” that he gets all his spices from Israel because U.S. spices aren’t good enough, and that he’s teaching a new cohort of chefs about Kosher laws. “I’d never worked with Mexicans in my life – this for me is a nation I didn’t know. It’s been inspirational. The kitchen has a very good ambience. My team is proud of what they do. And to teach non-Jewish people about the rules and regulations of kashrut is very exciting. You find logic in things like the way you need to wash herbs.”

FOOD, NEWS | 22 comments | permalink
    1. Mark Moore says:

      No matter how they dress it up it’s still just a burger.

      • RK says:

        They don’t dress it up. Great beef, simply made, sold cheap. It’s an honest burger.

        Want a dressed up burger? Go to a sit down restaurant and pay 3x the price.

        I could go into detail about the smashed griddled burger vs the bistro patty burger debate, but I’ll spare y’all. Just realize that Shake Shack, at its best, is the platonic ideal of the former.

    2. CharlieAndCosmo says:

      In recent memory, I have only eaten in a Michelin starred restaurant once, and in fact that was at the bar since we weren’t up for a three hour, ten course pre fixe. However, I did not find the food “fucking boring”, as Chef says. On the contrary, it was pretty “fucking delicious!!”

    3. Westsidegal says:

      “which got new kiosks” translation-$15 minimum wage is killing jobs

    4. Jeff says:

      I love Box Kite precisely because it’s so out of place. Went there last Thanksgiving after the parade and the barista was absolutely blasting profanity-laced death metal, which was hilarious, to me.

    5. CCL says:

      Kiosks will likely do a better job than the current staff in terms of speed, competency and service. The ambience could use a major zhuzh as well.

    6. Box kite’s lattes have always been my favorite in the city!:-)

    7. liz says:

      I love Arba’s food but the staff really needs some professional training–coffee arrives with milk but no spoon, “hostess” anything but, etc. Amateur hour

    8. wombatNYC says:

      Can I mention that I love Viva Pizza on 97th and Broadway.But management really needs to clean that place up . It’s absolutley Sticky and Itchy feeling eating there. The garbage is exposed, the tables and doors are never properly cleaned and the bathroom leaves me speachless.
      They do a swift business and should be midful of the space . I’ve told management a number of times but it seems to get worse

    9. Hamburgler says:

      Shake Shack is totally overrated. Decent meat patty but terrible fries and ridiculous prices.

      • geoff says:

        agreed. most overlooked: Fairway, upstairs. good burger, salad (the lettuce and tomato for your burger) on the side, decent fries, coleslaw, decent surroundings, $13 !!

        • Edith Eats Out says:


          Fairway’s 2nd floor café (our go-to place when dining with friends) has excellent food, excellent service, and fairly reasonable prices.

          And, after dining, if you’re not too stuffed, there’s Fairway’s incredible assortment of yummy food and snacks just waiting to be placed in your cart.

          • Rizfat says:

            Just ate at cafe 74th. So disappointed since revamp. Burgers look shrunk in ridiculous sized buns, returned them they were so overcooked $4 up sell on onion rings less than a handful given and to top it off we saw a mouse run across floor. We told manager, they shrugged. We called 311. Am sad, I don’t recognise fairways anymore and i loved it. I will not shop or eat there- prices same as citerella and trader J much cheaper and better quality on basics. Times change

    10. Young Fogey says:

      About “F***ing boring”

      Exactly WHEN did “the F*** WORD” become ACCEPTABLE in “polite conversation”, esp. on a “family-friendly site” !!!

      It shows NOT that the writer is “cool” but that the writer has limited vocabulary and limited imagination.

      As Mark Twain said, “[I] shall never use profanity … for it is unchristian, inelegant, and degrading”

      Of course, people who relish using the F*** word probably have no idea who Mark Twain is.

      • Old Fogey says:

        I agree! Most everyone (myself included) drops an “F bomb” occasionally, but in private. But for the WSR to just casually use it is astonishing. This normalization of such language is why young children are so foul-mouthed nowadays. If people are ok with that, WOW, but don’t act confused as to why kids have become so callous, ill-behaved and disrespectful.