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.
Did French Roast at 85th and Broadway close? Their phone number is out of service.
They were open tonight – I walked by about 5 minutes before I saw your comment!
Definitely still open and hopping… but for some reason their phone number is disconnected!
They appeared to be open this morning when I walked by and I ate here on Saturday.
UWS is filling up with “smoke shops” there’s 2 on my block next to McDonalds. One is open 24:7 what could possibly go wrong!!?? Oh, a guy was shot in his foot 2 weeks ago at 4 am. Sad to see this all over UWS. Sorry to be a downer- The new restaurants sound great. Guess I’ll “smoke” before I try them!
As much as I patronize the CBD Kratom shop, I hate walking on your block. The crowds outside the McDonalds and the other restaurants, all those messenger bikes chained to every tree and post, the garbage and noise and finally two holds ups at the convenience store resulting in a shooting should result in some actions from local authorities. They need to clear that block of all those obstructions and trouble makers. You would think the 20th police precinct would post an officer on the block 24/7.
I don’t envy you or other residents living on that block! Feels like the area around MSG.
All we get are chains! The homogeneity of the products; the stores staffed by underpaid and disinterested staff; Security at the doors.
Gone are the Mom & Pops of my youth where everyone “knows your name.”
We need commercial rent control!
Mom and Pop stores of years ago. Mom and Pop were often trapped in their store and knew they had made a mistake. They could be awfully grouchy.
It’s the “tenure” entitlement vibe of the restaurant scene here; the best/newest eateries are always going to gravitate towards the East Village, Williamsburg, Smith Street (Boerum Hill), etc. and elsewhere in Brooklyn. It’s a shame the UWS can attract the more adventurous. We get the “second” or “third” after a place is established elsewhere (case and point: Ample Hills Creamery first launched in Prospect Heights).
Why don’t you listen to what small business owners have to say instead of jumping to the conclusions of your own. Crime is the main problem!
It is not the rents, things are in a good place.
We can’t take all the problems from the robberies, shoplifting, aggressive panhandling in front of our stores and in the stores, and the mentally ill walking the sidewalks. It might have changed if we had a Senate representative that cared win yesterday but since everyone votes the same people in over and over again, you’ll see more Mom and Pop stores leave due to the neighborhood problems. We can’t afford the the loss of business from less walk-by traffic on our streets and the loss of staff who are frightened from robberies and harassment. It’s that simple. More Mom & Pops that make a community a community can’t take it anymore.
I share your concern about neighborhood crime. But what does a “Senate representative” have to do with this? Crime is mostly a local issue and the U.S. Senate has little to do with this. And there were no U.S. Senators on the ballot yesterday.
He’s talking about the NY State Senate. I and many other commentators on here supported Maria Danzilo because she wanted to add a “dangerousness” clause to the new (and twice revised) bail law. There is concern that the amendments to the bail law of 2020 still restrict judges too much in the setting of bail for misdemeanors, so that repeat offenders are too often back on the street.
Not that the bail law is the only problem!
I am very sorry to hear that. If only we could make things better in Albany… But no, people prefer to vote for woke politicians on Upper West Side and destroy our businesses and neighborhood while getting their packages at their doorman buildings.
Some people I know voted for Hoylman not because they’re “woke” but only because he is the incumbent and they didn’t know anything about Danzilo. I imagine that’s true of many. I wouldn’t have known about the key diffs between Holyman and Danzilo except for here on the WSR. A shame that her campaign attracted relatively little notice.
Maybe if more New Yorkers actually took the time to research potential candidates then they would be more informed. Shocking to know that a very large percentage of Democrats didn’t even vote in the August primaries. That’s how we keep getting these inexperienced woke socialists running the show!! I voted for Maria this time around and when she was running against Gale. She’s exactly what our district needs!! Honest, sane, and a true New Yorker.
Hardware stores are _supposed_ to be cluttered!
you are so right, David S. There once was a jam-packed cluttered perfect hardware store (and everything else) around Broadway and 94th. Alas….all disappearing.
Grand Metro. Didnt they have some kind of tax issue, like they weren’t paying any?
I remember that hardware store fondly. Not only that, but the owners were very civic-minded; IIRC they gave money to the Thalia movie theater, maybe even allowed them to continue operating.
Oh, definitely. The more stuff crammed into narrow aisles and shelves, the better they are. Between Brickman’s, Aquarius, Mike’s Lumber and the new Mega Building Supply, the UWS between 86th and 90th is becoming Hardware Heaven. So much better than all those sketchy smoke shops.
Gartners on West 72nd 🙂
There is still a Lululemon on Broadway between 114th and 115th streets, across from Columbia. I didn’t know how it would do, but it’s still there after a few years.
Team 7 is Austrian, not German.
Unless it is a huge chain that is willing to put up with high rent, high labor costs and shoplifting nobody’s opening. I just found out that my Duane Reade is at risk of closure because of theft
The UWS desperately needs new condo and apartment construction to bring in more and wealthier people to the areas which will bring in more businesses and stores and restaurants.
You’re begging for gentrification, just to be clear.
Totally disagree. We need less construction. We need crime reduction, quality of life enforcement, mom and pop stores, better park and library hours, and a ‘schools as community centers’ ethos.
Agreed!! Moved here in 1992 where the neighborhood was filled with tons of mom & pop businesses, not one empty store front and as always a fine mix of the rich, upper middle class, middle class, working class and poor. It was vibrant and exciting to live here. No one feared going out after dark. Plenty of police patrol including foot patrol. No homeless shelters either. Just look what 8 years of DeBlasio did to ruin all of it.
You felt safe walking around NYC at night in 1992?
I’ve lived here my whole life and have always felt pretty safe walking in the neighborhood at all hours. The only area that was not considered quite so safe (in the 1970’s) was the area above the 90’s on Columbus Avenue.
Has anyone been to DiDi Dumplings yet? We were unable to order online when we tried the other day and also couldn’t reach anyone by phone when we called.
DiDi Dumplings is apparently open for business. I spoke to someone on the phone today. They take phone orders for pickup, but not online orders for now, it seems.
There are few absolutes in life but one is that Insomnia Cookies is the greatest outdoor cookie just like Pillsbury has the best oven cookies. Can Crumble shake the balance?? I’ve been wanting to try them for years and nearly paid the $100 to order a pack online. You can bet I’ll be there day 1
Insomnia is mid
WHEN are we going to get a supermarket??! When I moved here there were three within a oouple of blocks, now only Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the horrible Key Food. All too far for people in the 80s near Bway, especially seniors. We are now all expected to pay delivery fees for veggies squashed at the bottom of the bag.
Do we really need a national cookie chain with all of the great shops already in a 3-4 block radius of that Crumbl location?!?
That store front has been empty for years! (I live across the street). Better a cookie shop than empty!