By Scott Etkin
Just Pho You, a Vietnamese restaurant, opened on March 28 on Broadway between 100th and 101st Street. The founder, Wan Chen, used to work at Neiman Marcus but has “always wanted to open a restaurant, even from childhood” – her father was a chef at a Chinese restaurant. Originally from Boston, Ms. Chen moved to NYC five years ago and decided to open on the Upper West Side because she lives in the neighborhood herself. The restaurant serves “authentic pho,” something Ms. Chen said she had trouble finding in the city. She said they are short on staff, but will expand the menu and start delivering through the third-party apps over time. The restaurant replaces Yu Kitchen, the Chinese food restaurant. (Thanks to Tracy and Claudia for the tip.)
Suba Pharmacy, which was opened by Bashir Suba in 1982 on the corner of Broadway and 104th Street, is closing its doors. Mr. Suba said that he can no longer cover the high rent payments since the pandemic hit. The switch to delivering prescriptions and doing pick-ups at the door has decreased sales from over-the-counter items, he said. Adding to the challenges are the need for building renovations and the fact that insurance companies have reduced their dispensing fees. “Insurance companies have failed independent pharmacies,” he said. “Luckily I have customers who take care of me,” said Mr. Suba. This strong bond goes back years: In 2004, when his lease was expiring and his landlord wanted him out, Mr. Suba’s customers set up a table outside the shop and gathered 4,000 signatures in a week – saving the business. A framed picture in the storefront of Suba Pharmacy shows a photo of the same street in 1910 and says there has been a pharmacy in the same spot – including Gutkin Pharmacy, Armstead Pharmacy and Fairex Drugs – dating back to 1905. Mr. Suba said he would reopen another location with lower rent but hasn’t found one yet — he is still looking. (Thanks to David for the tip.)
Arba, the Mediterranean kosher restaturant on Columbus between 82nd and 83rd, will have its final night of service on April 6. “We would like to thank all of Arba’s customers for your support, especially throughout the pandemic,” Arba wrote in an email. In its place, the same ownership will open “Modern @ Night,” an extension of Modern Bread & Bagel, the gluten-free bakery inside Arba. “Our Modern @ Night concept will offer artisan fare in a relaxed atmosphere at everyday prices. The menu allows guests to choose from a variety of pescatarian and plant-based proteins to create their own salads, sandwiches, bowls, and plates.” (Thanks to Tierney for the tip.)
Eight Ladles, the soup and cracker bar inside of the Thyme and Tonic restaurant – next door to Modern and under the same ownership – will temporarily close at the end of April for the summer. The plan is for it to reopen in the fall.
Zelma’s Caffe – a cozy café serving Colombian and French coffee, tea, and pastries – opened March 25 on Broadway between 101st and 102nd Street. Zelma, the owner, has a culinary background and grew up on the Upper West Side. She remembers playing in Riverside Park, said Samantha Maynard, Zelma’s daughter, who runs the café, so opening the shop is her way of giving back to the community. Ms. Maynard said they get their baked goods delivered fresh daily from a Greek bakery in New Jersey that has been open for 113 years. They will have website up soon and plan to expand the menu to include savory toast and breakfast. In the warmer weather they will also have outdoor seating and live jazz on the weekends. The shop’s décor, featuring a leafy green wall and mural that were designed by Zelma, “looks quite homey,” writes tipster Jerry. The space used to be a Dunkin’ Donuts. (Thanks also to Claudia and Jonas for the tip.)