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.)
Ecen though I live farther downtown I always stopped at Suba Pharmacy’s window to wonder at the 1910 photograph and take a little time travel excursion. I will BOLO the new store and wish Mr. Suba an easy transition to his new location.
I hope upper Broadway lowers rents and starts filling up all these empty storefronts.
I’m sad to hear about Suba closing. I lived in the neighborhood for about 15 years and was in there often. Even after moving away, I still returned for certain non-Rx items they stocked. Mr. Suba always remembered me. I wish him all the best with his next pharmacy!
Don’t make the classic Gringo error: it’s Colombian coffee not Columbian! The country is Colombia.
Thank you, corrected
I can’t imagine the neighborhood without Suba. His quirky little shop is really special. It will be a great loss if he has to leave.
Zelma’s is another good reason not to go to Starbucks.
Is there ever a Kosher restaurant that last more thena few years. The names and locations seem to change often. Also, Old guy here , what does BOLO stand for in the comments ?
clearly, you don’t watch enough cop shows….
(old gal here) My guess for BOLO is “Be On the Look Out” ….
Best of luck to Zelma’s Caffe – refreshing (and happy-making) to see an independent store replace a chain!
Thrilled to finally see two fewer empty storefronts above 100th and will definitely try both, wishing them luck, but so sad that Mr. Suba is moving. Fingers crossed that he will stay close to his original location. And that he can afford it, sigh.
So good to see an independently owned cafe take the place of a Dunkin’ Donuts. Best wishes to Zelma and
Samantha! And welcome home.
The people at Zelma’s are so lovely and their ice coffee is a much better tasting and value than Peaky’s who has made their coffee cups much smaller yet continued to charge the same or more for a cup. I vote for Zelma for the win!!!! Also, they are family owned!
Super excited for some Pho right across the street!! Also happy for Zelma’s opening.
Sad that landlords on the upper west side raise rents when there are so many empty stores. Suba is an institution and a public resource for the neighborhood and should be able to stay put.
Long-time reader, first-time commenter.
PLEASE find a new home for SUBA Pharmacy. Shopping there is infinitely more pleasant that the chains.
They were there for the community during the pandemic. Some landlord should be there for a independent business.
Miss Spring Natural so much.