By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
Kwame Onwuachi, recipient of the James Beard Award for “Rising Star Chef” in 2019, is opening a new, as yet unnamed restaurant on the ground floor of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center this fall, The New York Times reported. “This will be my love letter to NYC with an Afro Caribbean touch,” Onwuachi wrote on Instagram. Onwuachi is known for his time on the TV show “Top Chef” and for his previous Washington, D.C restaurants, Shaw Bijou and Kith/Kin.
Raised in the Bronx, Onwuachi also spent time in Nigeria growing up. In his autobiography, Notes from a Young Black Chef, he tells the story of how he overcame poverty and racism in his rise through the ranks of fine dining. Though he was expelled from college for selling drugs, he eventually enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America and began working in the top restaurants in NYC, before going on to lead his own kitchens. (Thanks to Julie for the tip.)
Pico de Gallo Bar & Kitchen, a Mexican restaurant, opened on August 17 at 768 Amsterdam between 97th and 98th Streets. The space, formerly Guacamole Restaurant, is under new management and has a new menu. One of the three co-owners, Austria Rodriguez, grew up in the neighborhood about 10 blocks away from the restaurant, and the other two, Indhira Ortega and Ingry Rodrigues grew up in Washington Heights. The three women are all originally from the Dominican Republic and have been friends for 15 years.
“We are still a Mexican restaurant with a full bar (we are waiting on our liquor license) and we revamped the menu as well as the space,” Austria told West Side Rag. “We reimagined the patio with a hanging flowers theme. We kept many of the Guacamole employees, including the chef.” A website will be up and running soon. (Thanks to Emily for the tip.)
Lululemon, the yoga apparel company, closed its store on the corner of 75th and Broadway on August 21. “Thank you for 10 unforgettable years!” read a sign on the storefront. While the company opened a location nearby on 70th and Columbus in May, it also closed its original Upper West Side Lululemon at 1928 Broadway (at 64th Street) in October 2021. That store and the one on Broadway at 75th were among the earliest Lululemon stores to open in NYC, a clerk at the 70th and Columbus location told WSR. The newest location has an “updated, current vibe,” the clerk said. (Thanks to Gretchen and Mindi for the tips.)
Crumbl Cookies, a chain with 300 bakeries in 36 states, is “coming soon” to the corner of 74th and Columbus, taking the place of an HSBC Bank. Crumbl was founded by two cousins in Utah in 2017 when one was attending Utah State University. They started with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and then added a rotating menu of other flavors. Featured cookies now include: red velvet cupcake, strawberry shortcake, mallow sandwich, and cinnamon frybread. (Thanks to John for the tip.)
Team 7, a German kitchen furniture store, is moving to make way for the Morton Williams Supermarket being built on Broadway between 68th and 69th Street. “After 12 years of being in the neighborhood, we appreciate you trusting us with your spaces,” read a sign posted on the storefront. Team 7 will be consolidating with the existing German Kitchen Center location around the corner at 191 Amsterdam between 68th and 69th.
Mega Building Supply, a hardware store, is now open on the west side of Broadway between 87th and 88th Streets. “We are not your typical cluttered hardware store,” Sol Goldberg, the owner, told the Rag. “We are a beautiful space which is ‘shoppable’ and customer friendly.” Their hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6pm and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. The space was formerly occupied by The Bar Method, an exercise studio.
Exotic Smoke Shop is replacing Matsu Sushi on Columbus and 83rd Street.