By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
Bettola, the restaurant on Amsterdam between 79th and 80th Streets, serving German and Italian cuisine, will close on August 31st. Giga Leszy and Vlado Kolenic, originally from the Czech Republic, have been the owners since 2016. For ten years prior to that, Leszy was the restaurant’s manager. “After years of being a part of the UWS community, it is with a heavy heart that we will be closing,” Leszy wrote to West Side Rag. “Since the pandemic, we have been trying to keep Bettola afloat. We have not been able to reach an agreement with the landlord, and paying high rent plus significantly increased supply costs makes it impossible.” Leszay and Kolenic may open a new restaurant, but said “NYC has become too difficult for small business owners like us.” (Thanks to Marjorie for the tip.)
William Greenberg Desserts has opened on Amsterdam between 73rd and 74th Streets in the space formerly occupied by the chocolate shop Jacques Torres. The bakery, popular for its black and white cookies, sells kosher custom cakes, brownies, and other baked goods. It was founded on the Upper East Side by William Greenberg in 1946 after he served in World War II. The bakery still has a store on the UES, as well as in Hudson Yards, and at the Plaza Hotel Food Court. The bakery delivers nationwide. (Thanks to Joeanna for the tip.)
Cafe Viva Gourmet Pizza, the longtime Italian restaurant on Broadway between 97th and 98th Streets, has closed. “It has been a privilege to serve this community for 30 years,” wrote owner Tony Iracani in a message to customers. “With your patronage, we made it through the most challenging times. I am sad to say that now due to circumstances beyond our control we have to close.” Iracani also told West Side Rag that the restaurant could not “keep up with the expenses.” Cafe Viva had a big menu of pasta, salad and pizzas with whole wheat, gluten-free and corn crust.
Osteria Accademia, an Italian restaurant, is replacing the Italian restaurant Scarlatto at 646 Amsterdam Avenue between 91st and 92nd Streets. Accademia will incorporate the theme from its name into its decor, using upcycled books “for looks, but also as sound control,” according to a website for recruiting staff. “It’s also a conversation starter.” A menu hasn’t been posted yet, but the same site indicates it will be casual fare: “We are not fine dining, but we pride ourselves on giving stellar service and establishing a rapport with every table.” (Thanks to Zvonko and Joseph and for the tips.)
Shobha, a beauty salon for hair removal, is opening on the east side of Broadway between 75th and 76th Streets. Founded in 2001, Shobha has been named as the salon with the “best brow treatments” by Allure magazine and the “best bikini wax” by New York magazine. Shobha already has a location nearby at Columbus Circle, as well as in Soho and Brooklyn.
The Dunkin Donuts on Broadway between 96th and 97th Street is moving just north to the corner of 98th Street and Broadway. The move, which will replace 16 Handles, is planned for this fall (October or November). The new location will have a Baskin-Robbins, which is part of the same ownership group as Dunkin, Inspire Brands.
I liked the carbonara at Scarlatto. I guess one problem was it just wasn’t a good space for trying to get through Covid.
Thankfully Scarlatto has moved to 48th & 9th with the same red awning, reasonable prices, wonderful staff and delicious menu that they had on Amsterdam. We’ve been several times, and the place is always packed.
“Reasonable prices”? Their prices were totally out of line for the neighborhood–which may give a clue as to why they shut down.
“Accademia”, with books, reminds me of “The Library” on Broadway in the 1970s(?)-80s(?). Burned down, as I recall.
I am sorry to read about Bettola, I only went twice but it was a fun atmosphere and the food when we went was really solid. I’m a pescatarian so I had the linguine with clams, but my cousins (German-American) loved their schnitzels. I have heard from others in the industry that you’d have to be crazy to open a restaurant/ bar right now, but still sad to see them go
I agree! Very sad to hear about Bettola! They are such lovely owners and everyone always had a fun time there!
They’re moving the Dunkin Donuts? These stores are pigsties all over the neighborhood. The ones at Amsterdam and 94th and Columbus and 95th are gross and the one on Broadway around 91st leaves large bags filled with donuts outside on the street. DD is basically a blight on the neighborhood.
Unless you’re a rat….
So sad to see that Bettola is closing. Really delicious food (I loved the pizza and the schnitzel) and a fun atmosphere.
Delighted about Greenberg’s but devastated about Cafe Viva…the only kosher pizza I like besides Noi Due (which is fancier style), really sad. We have lost SO many good kosher restaurants in the last 2.5 years — Coffeeberry, The Brat Factory, Boru Boru, Grill 212, Alibaba, Cafe Viva…I’m also wondering/concerned about Westside Wok which hasn’t been taking delivery orders on any delivery apps for at least the last week — @westsiderag any info? I know the antisemites on these comments always grumble when new kosher restaurants open but we only have one or two options at most per cuisine-style, not multiple choices like those who don’t keep kosher; it’s a huge loss when we lose even one restaurant.
Unfortunately the economics of running a restaurant don’t work for kosher. They are closed 1/2 of the weekend (Friday night and all day Saturday.) Not very conducive to generating income to pay the rent. They are also very expensive. From my experience, many are not kept clean to my standards as well. Cafe Roma Pizzeria was filthy.
No one’s running a restaurant as a charity. If there’s no market for kosher, there won’t be any kosher.
I do mot think the problem is a lack of customers. I know Coffeeberry was always full and I know she said she was in tje process of passing the business to her son but that fell through so it closed. But everything is so expensive plus kosher certification even more so.
It’s really expensive to run a Kosher place and I feel for the owners of these places.
Do you really think antisemitism is the reason why these places are closing? Where do you think we’re living? It’s the UWS for goodness sakes! Wow!!!
Nobody has ever dinged a store just for being kosher. Its not antisemetic to lament that the bbq place on Amsterdam is 50% more expensive than other bbq restaurants.
West Side Wok has a “closed by the department of health” sign on the door.
Seeing how the grading system allows for all kinds of misdemeanors lol, to actually get closed by the NYCDOH means there is something pretty horrible going on in there, kosher or not. Hope they can clean it up!
Westside Wok was closed by the health department
Yes, the sign says “by the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene.” Mental hygiene? Apparently, aside from being unclean the cook was thinking dirty thoughts.
It may mean that after the inspector saw what was going on in the kitchen he required psychiatric care.
Balebusta — you’re looking too hard for “antisemites”. Start with the elected officials who support BDS.
Alas, the Plaza Hotel Food Court is no more, and so there is no Wm Greenberg bakery there. I checked with Plaza personnel last month, and it seems this closure is permanent.
I didn’t know that the Plaza Food Court was closed. I have been going to that great, posh hotel for years for personal and business reasons. I thought a food court was totally out of place for a posh hotel. I remember when there were 3 great restaurants on the hotel’s first floor. The film North by Northwest has scenes shot in one of those restaurants.
“Paging Mr. George Kaplan”
Oh no, I loved that food court! And it was always so busy. I’m also sorry to hear about Bettola and Cafe Viva. They were great.
“NYC has become too difficult for small business owners like us.” (Thanks to Marjorie for the tip.) This says it all. New Yorkers lose everything to big real estate development and to small landlords with greedy hearts and minds. This was once a City of little individual retailers with quirky and beautiful goods. Remember the Phoenix Shop? Now we are limited to only Chinese imports.
It’s not the landlords, it’s the bureaucrats who make it impossible to open anything on a schedule or run anything with predictability.
Not to mention most retailers in this neighborhood have to pay commercial rent tax just for being in Manhattan below 96th.
People wonder why Brooklyn has fewer chains — it’s because you need a lot of big-business capital to sustain a company with a special tax just for the privilege of running a store in Manhattan.
Dunkin Donuts sucks and there are better donuts to be had on the UWS. William Greenberg is great.
I’m super excited to get my hair removed.
I sense you’re not entirely serious but for those who *are* excited to get hair removed (or at least excited to be hair-free), Shoba’s new location is great news. They’re REALLY good, totally professional, and have always had strict sanitary protocols in place (long before Covid). Most importantly, every single technician I’ve ever encountered there seems to have some special magic/training in “how not to make humiliating things like a full Brazilian wax feel anything other than completely normal and matter of fact” and “how to regard every single body regardless of size, shape, color, hairiness, etc. as nothing other than a surface from which to remove hair.” I have never gotten a whiff of judgement from anyone there, and if their top-quality work and service d didn’t keep my going back, their ability to make me feel comfortable during the most potentially uncomfortable circumstances would. And fwiw, I have zero connection to them… just a major fan who is grateful for all the eyes that have never once batted in the 12 years I’ve been going there.
I love shobha as well – 59th is convenient but this will be even better! Excited!!
Cafe Viva – I was crushed when I heard their outgoing voicemail message saying they are closed. It was our go-to for years for a really solid large cheese pie after work when too tired to cook.
Nice people, already greatly missed.
Cafe Viva will close this Sunday (September 4th). I just spoke to an employee.
Same here – they had some great pies! I walked by to get a slice when they closed a few days ago, and was heartbroken…
Update – Cafe Viva was open today, September 1, when I walked by around 6:15pm. If they’re open tomorrow I’ll hop in and ask them what’s up. Maybe they have until the end of Sept?
Open like selling pizza today?
Yes, there were pizzas on display, the pizza makers throwing dough, and customers sitting inside. They didn’t have their normal table setup outside, but had a few tables outside.
Good riddance to Bettola! I live around the corner from them, and their nightly loud outdoor live band music was distasteful, annoying, and totally inconsiderate to the residents who live in the area. If you’re going to have live music, at least keep it within the confines of your establishment. Not everyone wants to hear their kind of music, or any music at all. Residents have the right to live in “peace and quiet” (I put that in quotes because I realize it’s NYC).
For those who support Bettola’s outdoor music, can you imagine what the neighborhood would be like if every restaurant/bar decided to have live outdoor music? What gives them the right to be the exception? No love lost here for them.
I’m thrilled to have William Greenberg of the UWS–only 3 blacks away! Best cookies, best palmiers, everything there is great. They had a brief shining presence years ago on the West side of Broadway near 76th-77th and then they vanished.
Welcome back, you have made a lot of people happy!
Cafe Viva was open when I walked past it about three hours ago.???
They just closed today (Sunday, September 4th).
So sad to see Cafe Viva go. Their vast array of vegetarian options was unique among NYC pizzerias. They will be missed.
So sad to see Bettola go! This was the first restaurant we ate in when we first moved to New York and it instantly became a family favorite. The staff were always lovely and friendly and knew us when we came in and the food and atmosphere were always wonderful. We will really miss them.
Hearing that Greenberg’s was open for business again on the UWS, I decided to try THEIR chocolate babka in comparison to other well known establishments. So far, in my estimation, Breads Bakery near Lincoln Center takes the cake! The luscious chocolate is delicately laced throughout the entire loaf and the cake texture and taste is to die for …
Orwashers & Greenberg’s were both disappointing. Their chocolate babka’s were more like a mediocre coffee cake with some chocolate thrown in.
All were in price range of $18/19
Was pleased to see William Greenberg’s opened in the neighborhood. As a former UESer I grew up buying from their Madison Ave location. Went in Wednesday to buy a pound of rugelah at the UWS to take to a shiva call that afternoon. The staffers are young and very sweet but the company isn’t training them well. The person who waited on me put them in a box only when I asked him to (I had told them it was to take to a funeral) and started putting tape on the box an stuck on their logo sticker askew. I asked if they had ribbon. He takes it away to wrap it, is gone a long time and then I see him at the cash register. The young woman apparently had to take over. You should have seen how it was wrapped. Falling off, not wrapped around right. It looked like a 2nd grader wrapped it. This isn’t what anyone wants to give as a present. I had to rewrap the whole box. I wrote to the company on Thursday and no reply whatsoever. Beware if you’re bringing anything from there as a gift for Rosh Hashanah or any occasion. Very disappointing.
This is the third attempt by William Greenberg Desserts to have an Upper West Side presence. Both of the previous efforts failed; let’s hope this one doesn’t. I love their brownies!