By Scott Etkin
Homemade Taqueria has opened on Columbus between 109th and 110th Street. Hilario Morales, one of the founders, worked at his first taqueria “in Mexico City at 15 years old,” he wrote on Instagram, and opened the original Homemade Taqueria location with his wife, Felicitas, in Long Island City in 2010. There are now several Homemade Taqueria restaurants in NYC – the UWS location is the first one in Manhattan. At the original restaurant in LIC, “we worked from open to close every day for months with our kids having to stay with us in the restaurant after school,” he wrote. “It truly started as a family-owned and run business.” Some of the most popular tacos on the menu – which also has burritos, nachos, antojitos and more – include: the Al Pastor, Grilled Shrimp, Lengua (Beef Tongue) and Spicy Pork. (Thanks to Dave for the tip.)
Crossbar, a soccer-themed café, retail and event space, is coming to 86th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. Across two levels and 4,000 square feet, soccer fans will be able to order Devoción coffee and food while watching a game, shop for gear at an Upper90 store, and play on a mini field. Crossbar is under the same ownership as Upper90, which has a store on the corner of Broadway on the same block. Upper90 (referring to the top two corners of the goal) was founded in 2009 and has had space on the UWS for many years. Crossbar replaces The Parlour, the Irish pub and restaurant that closed last fall.
Sprint Sports, the sneakers and apparel shop that has been on Broadway between 93rd and 94th Streets since 1986, is closing. Susanne Beck, author of a recent profile about the owner Dany Ghatan, writes:
Ghatan says it is time. He has spent almost half his life developing a devoted group of employees and a very loyal clientele – one was quoted recently in the WSR saying “Dany is such a gentleman. The owners and associates are considerate and knowledgeable. Sprint Sports is the place to go if you have feet…you don’t need to be a runner.”
But between rising costs, pandemic-related supply chain issues, and yes, the ever-present scaffolding, which continues to overshadow the storefront, he says it’s time to enjoy life. “It’s time to relax a little…I want to spend time with my grandchildren.”
In the meantime, Ghatan is helping make sure his staff has new jobs. And he has placed all the merchandise at a 40% discount. “We will sell it until it all goes.” While a specific close date has not been set, Ghatan is sure it will be before the end of May. “I have a wedding to go to,” he says, with a smile in his voice.
Another longtime store on the UWS, Melissa’s Gourmet Deli on Broadway between 61st and 62nd Street, has closed. “After 32 years it’s sad that we had to leave our community and loyal customers,” Melissa’s ownership wrote in an email to the WSR. “We tried our best, but the pandemic hit us hard. And unfortunately the city isn’t like it used to be.” In the early days of the pandemic, Melissa’s stayed open for delivery and in March 2020, they posted on Facebook that they were stocked with essentials. (Thanks to Ann, Lynn and Mary for the tip.)
After a nine-week renovation, H&H Bagels on Columbus between 85th and 86th Street has reopened. The store, which is five blocks away from the original H&H that opened in 1972, has “new brighter lighting, new floors and tiled walls, new tables and chairs, and an airy, friendly vibe,” writes Ed Hersh (read his full article about H&H here). The re-model coincides with H&H’s strategy to franchise its “fast-casual bagel concept into the top 50 U.S. metro markets.” Other H&Hs can already be found at JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station.