Openings & Closings: Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, Friedmans, L’Occitane, Night Hotel

In an incredibly exciting development, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken signed a lease to open at 144-146 West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus. Charles’ is a legendary fried chicken spot at 132nd and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.

It’s helmed by septuagenarian Charles Gabriel and makes “some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever eat,” according to Gothamist, which describes it as “perfectly seasoned with Charlie’s secret blend and delivering the exact right balance between juicy, meaty insides and slightly crisp, slightly chewy outsides.” The Times says that fried chicken “achieves its highest form” there. Jack Khaski, one of the brokers who represented the landlord, tells us it’s expected to open in about two months. We couldn’t get through to the Harlem location on Tuesday. Thanks to Upper West Sider for the tip. See the menu here.

A new restaurant from the team behind Friedmans Lunch is opening at 50 West 72nd Street (Central Park West-Columbus Avenue), according to a Community Board notice. We’ve reached out to Friedmans to find out what they’ll be opening.

Cosmetics store L’Occitane has closed its store at 198 Columbus Ave (69th Street), and appears to have also closed on Broadway and 76th Street (the store is empty). The parent company filed for bankruptcy protection. As our tipster Upper West Sider notes, the Columbus Avenue store was around long enough that it got a cameo in You’ve Got Mail, the 1998 movie. Thanks to Gretchen, Twilla and Suzanne for the tips too.

French clothing store Sandro has closed its location at 181 Columbus Avenue between 68th and 69th Streets. Thanks to Jackie for the tip.

The Days Inn at 94th and Broadway is now a Night Hotel. Night Hotel also has a Times Square location, and was apparently voted sexiest hotel by TripAdvisor. Former Governor David Paterson said he had had an affair at that Days Inn during a rocky period in his marriage, as our tipster Jodie pointed out.

The space currently home to The North Face in the Ansonia at 74th and Broadway was recently put up for rent. The listing says it can be delivered vacant in 60 days. Thanks to Upper West Sider for the tip.

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

      Charles’ pan fried chicken may be its go to dish, but don’t — i repeat don’t – overlook his smothered pork chops. OMG!

    2. woody says:

      L’Occitane closed down and all the stores on that strip are empty. It’s becoming a homeless camp. Is this what the UWS is coming to?

      • UpperWest says:

        And how long has that scaffolding been up on the north end of that block? 5 years? More?

        All now vacant stores buried under it.

        And that dump site just north of the building connected with the interminable renovation? 7 years?

        • torches says:

          It’s the scaffolding that kills businesses. There should be a time limit on them if there isn’t already.

      • DJT says:

        There’s like 3 homeless ppl there, relax. What do you want to do about stores closing? Retail is dying and stores are investing in e-commerce instead.

        • david natoli says:

          I really hate this kind of black and white comment. As if it is a foregone conclusion.

          Cities all over the world are able to maintain vibrant retail because rents are reasonable snd there is not such an adversarial relationship with the city.

    3. UWS_lifer says:

      Oh. My. God. This is huge news!!

      First, Pastrami Queen takes over the old F&S space and now Charles’ down the block….so awesome. It’s like 72nd Street is becoming a serious foodie destination spot.:)

      And to those of you constantly complaining about the demise of the UWS…plenty of silver lining everywhere, you just have to look for it.

      How bad can life be when fried chicken and pastrami sandwiches are plentiful? Think about it.

    4. EBPUWS says:

      Sorry, wasn’t the Days Inn made infamous by Elliot Spitzer’s activities there?

    5. Marilyn says:

      Good riddance! That hotel was filthy! The Newton around the corner is far far better.

    6. Brett says:

      re Night Hotel — besides the David Patterson connection, film mavens out there should check out Chantal Ackerman’s Hotel Monterey, which was filmed entirely at that hotel in the early ’70’s. Hypnotically boring at times, it is a real window into UWS back then. Also might want to check out David Holzman’s Diary, filmed on the UWS in the late ’60’s.

      • V.N. says:

        Thanks for the info. I found the Chantal Ackerman’s movie on Criterion Collection and enjoyed a nice old view of the building where I live now. So cool.

    7. Charles Pan Fried Chicken was named Best Fried Chicken in NYC by The New Yorker Magazine. I wholeheartedly agree! Charles Gabriel deserves all the business he is going to get!

    8. North Face closed?! During the winter? Crazy… warm clothes, interesting space… but a bit more pricey than I was willing to shell out for… too bad.

      • LL says:

        It IS hard to believe, but in the midst of a pandemic .

        Still. As sad as I am to see more empty storefronts on the UWS, the place costs a fortune and the people who work there cent really help you. At least at Patagonia, they really know what they’re talking about.

        Btw. To the person talking about silver linings – a bodega opened on Amsterdam and 86th. It made me so happy. I do think less expensive businesses might come back to the UWS. Who knows? But sadly business closes means jobs losses

    9. Latisha says:

      Happy to see vacant spots being leased …… just wish it wasn’t fast food fried chicken. Not exactly the makings for a really nice neighborhood. The last thing we need in this neighborhood is more fast food.

    10. DKman says:

      Charles’s Fried Chicken on 72nd street will be the greatest addition to the west side culinary scene
      since Quest! Charles Gabriel has been catering our holiday party for many years, he is a great man, and I couldn’t be happier for him, and the location!

    11. David says:

      I moved to West 75th and Broadway in 2016. All the retail stores that were on the west side of Broadway between 75 and 76 in 2016 – except for Lululemon are now gone:
      Barney’s – gone
      Expensive shoe store – gone
      Shaving store – gone
      L’Occitane – gone
      Expensive greeting card store – gone

      • david natoli says:

        Add Sandro, Paige and others on Columbus in the 70’s.

        People are flippant about the death of retail, but personally I don’t see how a city can be truly livable and pleasurable without good retail options. It is getting harder and harder to go out and purchase even the most mundane items. I don’t want to resort to shopping online. Shopping, particularly in a major city, is a pleasure due to the expanse of goods and experiences.

        It is a shame what is happening in NYC, and while obviously the pandemic has been a colossal blow, there were huge problems before it, mainly due to obscene rents.

        • charles becker says:

          Rents can only be obscene if somebody is will to pay it.

        • Tired Small Business Owner says:

          Just to add to your valuable comment, it is not just high Manhattan rents, it is the unending problems with quality of life issues – many in front of our doors. It DOES cause small businesses problems, no matter how much some people here want to downplay it.

          Ask any small business, especially on Broadway and they will tell you that the quality of life issues cause many of our problems and some stores do not want to fight it anymore, they will give up and go elsewhere.

    12. w says:

      It’s the crime, the drug addicts, the mentally ill homeless, that keep me from shopping locally more than covid. So until life returns to “normal”, until more cops are around I will continue to shop online. Too bad. I loved this city.