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 An NYU study questioned the Abbott test’s accuracy, but the Rapid Test Center says that that study was not peer reviewed and looked at a small number of patients.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.”