Openings: Rapid Test Center, Chama Mama, Calaveras Corner, Sforno, The Upside

A new coronavirus testing business called Rapid Test Center is opening at 252 Columbus Avenue between 71st and 72nd Streets, the former home of Olive & Bette’s. The testing center promises results in minutes, not hours. It uses machines designed by Abbott Labs that detect the RNA on the Covid virus. (That’s different from antigen testing, which has been criticized for being too inexact.) “The test shows rates of 98.6% specificity (1.4% false negatives) and 94.7% sensitivity (5.3% false positive),” the Rapid Test Center says. “This is very close to regular lab-based PCR tests.” An NYU study questioned the Abbott test’s accuracy, but the Rapid Test Center says that that study was not peer reviewed and looked at a small number of patients. Other surveys of the Abbott tests have shown more success, they note. The Rapid Test Center does not list prices, and they haven’t gotten back to us about how patients are billed. Thanks to Emily, Carol, Tamar, Suzanne, MH and Upper West Sider for the tips.

Chama Mama, which serves Georgian cuisine, will be opening at 373 Amsterdam Avenue, between 77th and 78th Streets, the restaurant announced on Facebook. That’s the former home of La Vela. It serves all sorts of unique dishes, from kebabs to salads and dumplings. Check out the menu, which is filled with delicious-looking pictures. Chama Mama has another location in Chelsea. The restaurant will be appearing on Wednesday before the Community Board to seek a liquor license. The meeting starts at 6:30 and will be held over Zoom.

A new spot called Calaveras Corner is also appearing before the Community Board on Wednesday for a liquor license. It will be located at 201 West 106th Street. It’s owned by the same people as The Calaveras, a Mexican restaurant on Columbus and 107th.

A restaurant called Sforno is opening at 2393 Broadway near 88th Street, the former home of Hot & Crusty. There’s no info yet on what they’ll serve, though restaurants named Sforno in other cities serve pizza. Thanks to Lisa for the tip.

And lastly, something called The Upside is coming to Amsterdam Avenue between 88th and 89th. We’re not sure what it is yet, but hopefully it’s good. “Looks like a restaurant, but can’t find anything about it online,” wrote our tipster Josh. “Fingers crossed for a good sandwich place because I haven’t found one in 2.5 years.”

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Sick_of_testing_elsewhere says:

      The Rapid Test Center sounds promising…not putting the price on its website strikes me as a little fishy, but such obscurity is, I suppose, par for the course in our byzantine health care system (alas).

      • Boris says:

        The place isn’t open yet so calm down about lack of information on the website. I’m sure it’s going to included at a later date.

    2. Ed says:

      I remember reading earlier in the year that the owners of Amsterdam Ale House were going to open a new bar in the spot where Upsider is going to open, in fact I read it on the WS Rag

    3. Sarah says:

      Khachapuri on the UWS, woo!

    4. UWSHebrew says:

      I’ve never had Georgian food. Can’t wait.

    5. UpperWest says:

      If accurate, results-in-minutes tests can be done at any kind of scale, and if the bulk price is anything less than say $175 per test, isn’t it a better idea for FEMA and the city to test shelter populations daily, saving the money they’re now spending on expensive hotel rooms, and keeping residents closer to their core services?

    6. BornASoutherner says:

      I can’t wait from food down from the peach state! Am I the only one who didn’t realize that kabobs were a part of the cuisine?

    7. Since the Rapid Test Center misinterpreted false positive and negative percentages the opposite of what they are with the given sensitivity and specificity are have doubts that they can be trusted to provide accurate results. Carpe Diem.

    8. Sue Llewellyn says:

      It aeens BornASoutherner’s qualitiies also include a warped sense of humor!

      • BornASoutherner says:

        Was not joking there. I read the article quickly on the train home from work. Sorry if it was unpleasant.

    9. Bonnie DVM says:

      WSR can you please clarify if the Rapid Test Center actually said what is in quotation marks, or if perhaps the information was transcribed inaccurately? Any first year scientist learns that Specificity is the measurement of negative reactions and sensitivity is the measurement of positive reactions.So, it would be very disconcerting if the Rapid Test Center stands by the quotation as attributed to them. It would imply that they don’t have an understanding of the test they are promoting.

    10. JamieG says:

      I’ve eaten at the Chama Mama on 14th Street and loved it.

    11. AR says:

      Love the excitement of a rapid test clinic… you test positive as many asymptotic individuals have.. it’s all about wearing masks.. you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to tell you otherwise.

      If you’re feeling symptoms.. go to the hospital…

    12. rteplow says:

      I’m also excited about having a Georgian restaurant in our neighborhood! It’s an amazing cuisine. Good luck to them.

    13. Julie says:

      Emailed the rapid test center. They’re charging $200 for the test.

      • Sick_of_testing_elsewhere says:

        Wow, that’s quite a bundle! Guess I’ll be sticking with the free testing at Bellevue then. Thanks for inquiring.

    14. iz says:

      Is Calaveras opening in the old Ellington spot? If so, YAHOO! With Cascabel closing, I am very excited by the prospect of a new Mexican place closer to Broadway!

    15. M says:

      Georgian food is so good. I tried it for the first time in Moscow at a place called Sakhli. Chama Mama isn’t quite on that level, but it’s pretty good. Such unexpected flavor combinations.