By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
An Italian restaurant and cafe from the operator responsible for The Smith is opening at 320 Columbus Avenue on the corner of 75th Street. The plexiglass-enclosed space with planters used to house the Indian restaurant Saffron, which closed in 2017. At a recent Community Board 7 meeting, Jeffrey Lefcourt, the CEO and founder of Corner Table Restaurants, said that the menu will feature pastries, pizza and pasta and marks the company’s “first venture into another style restaurant.” The Smith, a casual American brasserie, has several locations in the city, including one near Lincoln Center.
The Goodwill thrift store on 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues is closing on September 25th. “Thank you to our neighbors for supporting our mission of employment and sustainability,” read a message posted on the storefront. “We will miss you!” Goodwill will no longer have a presence on the Upper West Side (it closed its other location at 219 West 79th Street back in 2018), but it has two East Side locations at 88th and 2nd Avenue and 61st and 1st Avenue. Goodwill is a national nonprofit that helps people join the workforce; last year it trained more than 123,000 people for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care. (Thanks to Joy and Frances for the tips.)
Chip City Cookies is opening on September 16th at 11am at 370 Columbus Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets. A free cookie (with purchase) will be given to its first 100 customers. Chip City Cookies was founded in Astoria, Queens in 2017 by two childhood friends – the UWS shop will be their 14th location. Theodore Gailas, one of the co-founders, told West Side Rag that Chip City has more than 40 cookie flavors and there is a rotating weekly menu of six cookies, which always includes chocolate chip and a dairy-free option. “We take pride in using the highest quality ingredients and serving cookies that are delicious, perfectly baked, and served warm,” he said. The weekly menu, ending September 18th, also includes oatmeal apple pie, chocolate peanut butter, s’mores, and cookies n’ cream. The cookie shop also serves coffee and tea, Galias said. It replaces 78 Columbus Deli. (Thanks to Thomas and Steve for the tips.)
Wafels & Dinges, known for its decadent Belgian dessert waffle trucks, is opening a retail location at 392 Columbus Avenue on 79th Street. The company, founded in 2007, serves waffles made from dough instead of batter and has operated food carts throughout Central Park for a number of years, in addition to stores in Brooklyn, Bryant Park, and Herald Square. They also ship nationwide. “Dinges” refers to waffle toppings and is a Belgian slang word meaning “whatchammacallits.” The space was formerly the cafe Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Magnolia Bakery at 200 Columbus Avenue (at 69th Street) is closed for two weeks beginning September 12th for “much needed renovations,” a representative from the bakery told WSR. “It is an old building and since it is such a busy location, there has never been time to do it.” A sign in the window encourages customers to visit the nearest Magnolia Bakery location on Broadway between 58th and 59th Streets. A note about the temporary closing “for renovations and improvements,” can be found on the website. Magnolia Bakery is a neighborhood favorite, selling cupcakes, brownies, cookies, cakes, and, of course, their famous banana pudding. (Thanks to Jill for the tip.)
A family-style seafood restaurant is planning to open this October at 635 Amsterdam Avenue on the corner of 91st Street. They will be open for lunch and dinner and plan to install a plexiglass roof over the patio so that it can be used year-round. It replaces Blockheads, the Mexican restaurant.