By Scott Etkin and Lisa Kava
Outlette, the jewelry store on the corner of Columbus and 70th Street, has expanded into the space next door to create a new shop called Poetry of Material Things. The new space has decorative home goods (such as crystals, candles, vases, bowls and herbariums), while jewelry continues to be sold in the existing space. Scott and Ruth Bienstock, the co-owners, told West Side Rag that they may eventually break down the wall in between the two stores to create one larger space. Poetry of Material Things replaces Salon Gabor, a hair stylist that closed last month.
Ample Hills Creamery, the ice cream shop on Amsterdam between 85th and 86th Streets, has shut down from December 19th to the 25th due to financial challenges at its parent company. Schmitt Industries, the Portland-based precision-equipment company that owns Ample Hills, wrote that it is seeking “additional investment capital required for it to continue operations.” While a sign on the storefront says the shop plans to re-open on December 26th, Schmitt wrote that “there is no assurance that additional capital will be obtained and if the company cannot raise sufficient capital, it will be required to shut down operations indefinitely.” The UWS shop opened this past July – there was a line around the block and actress Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) stopped by. In 2020 Schmitt acquired Ample Hills, which was founded in Brooklyn in 2010. (Thanks to Gerry for the tip.)
Key Food, the supermarket chain, is coming to the large retail space on the corner of Broadway and 88th Street. The space was formerly a Duane Reade and JOKR grocery delivery hub. Key Food has other UWS locations along Amsterdam at 86th Street and 96th Street. It is also the same company that operates Food Emporium grocery stores. (Thanks to David and Richard for the tip.)
Two Boots, a pizza chain, will be opening this spring at 70 West 71st Street (between Columbus and Central Park West) in the former home of Big Nick’s Burger & Pizza Joint Too, which closed in August 2021. The original Big Nick’s on Broadway and 77th closed back in 2013. Two Boots has a large menu with creative names for its pies like Earth Mother and Bayou Beast. Two Boots has several locations throughout the City. A representative from its Upper East Side location told WSR that the space is under construction and they plan to open in “three to six months,” but do not have a definite date yet.
A smoke shop has signage up on Amsterdam between 81st and 82nd Streets, replacing Blondi’s hair salon. Smoke shops – which sell CBD products, vapes, snacks and paraphernalia – have been scrutinized lately for selling illegal weed. There are at least 26 businesses selling cannabis products without licenses on the Upper West Side, according to City Council Member Gale Brewer.
Omonia Cafe has opened at the corner of 108th Street and Broadway. Established in 1977, Omonia has locations in Queens and Brooklyn, and is best known for its Greek and Italian pastries. The “baklava and baklava cheesecake are amazing,” writes tipster Steve. It replaces Hoshi Coupe, the hair salon.
Curious whether this new Key Foods will be a competitor to the one on 86th/Amsterdam or maybe they are moving there? That Key Foods is much smaller than the one on 96th/Amsterdam, but prices are MUCH lower.
96th/Amsterdam Key Foods’ new-ish location does not look like it is doing well. They really jacked up prices it seems when they moved and just overstocked seemingly random goods.
I heard from a Key Food rep that they are keeping open the one on 86th as well.
The 96th St Key Foods is the worst! The people are rude, the prices are crazy high. I put a dozen eggs in my basket–just regular large white eggs, and the price was $8. The price hadn’t been marked anywhere.
It’s a great store. 24 / 7 including holidays. Very busy today., 96th st
It’s constantly packed with people in there.
Please no more smoke shops. Also, is Key Foods really going to keep the 88th Street store open with this new one on 86Th?
We love Outlette and wish Scott and Ruth the best of luck
Golders Green represent!
The two-level interior of the former Face Value & Beyond (West 90th) would be perfect for Trader’s Joe’s, even with its two other locations on the UWS. This one is can reach the northern UWS/Morningside Heights, closer to the train lines, etc.
I think it’s too close to the one on 93rd and Columbus. I would prefer that they opened an Aldi’s.
We could certainly use some more affordable shopping in the neighborhood!
Ample Hills is the creamiest, highest quality ice cream in the City — and, honestly, I can’t even think of a close second. Their ‘Night at the Moo-seum’ is a gift from the heavens. PLEASE re-open after Christmas!!
There is already a smoke shop a block down on Amsterdam bet 79th and 80th. And it’s right next to Insomnia Cookies and pizza so very easy to get high and satisfy your munchies without needing to expend much energy. It’s unfortunate the we need another one but maybe some will close. It’s like when every block had a frozen yogurt place. Or a Duane Reade. Now it’s weed shops.
My wife and I joke similar to you that weed shops are the new frozen yogurt places. Bound to close.
Ample hills is very good ice cream would be sad to see them close.
These smoke shops will start to close sooner or later because of the tremendous amount of competition and also because none of them are actually licensed to sell pot nor will they be any time soon. When the State starts cracking down on the illegal sales which they will do when the income from the legal shops starts flowing in, these smoke shops will be gone. They will be fined out of business.
The crackdown has already started. ~50 shops were raided in the two weeks after thanksgiving and more will be in the new year. Additionally the legislature is going to pass a new law giving additional enforcement capabilities to law enforcement.
I no longer live on the UWS (Greetings from Pasadena CA!) but sorry to learn of Big Nicks’ demise. Of course that one on 71st never replaced the original. Has it really been 10 years since the original Big Nicks closed? Say that isn’t so!
That Big Nick’s on 71st was counterfeit; I saw the sign & inwardly rejoiced… until I tried a slice.
Never went again; I hate it when they sail under false colors. There was no connection to the original Big Nick; maybe they nicked an original menu (which I still have, resting in a lonely drawer: 28 pages!) but that was it. They were just trading under his name, appropriating his legacy.
Meanwhile Big Nick himself was dying in Greece; an era truly over.
May God rest his soul.
Exactly., Lawrence. I never went back there either. Thanks for the update. Big Nick RIP. You might donate that menu to the NY Historical Society. I remember those hefty menus. I’m not so lucky as to have a real one but I held onto the long paper take-out menu just for the memories . Bob
Why are Weed/Cannabis stores allowed to open across the city without any community board approval? Weed is still a controlled substance like alcohol that requires liquor license approval, is it not?
None of the stores currently open are legal. The first legal store will open at 750 Broadway on 12/29.
So happy to see Omonia has come to the West Side! It’s a family-run, neighborhood institution. I wish them the best.
The baklava cheesecake sounds delish!
The newish Key Food on 95th and Amsterdam is the worst designed supermarket I have ever been in. I even preferred the older, smaller one on 97th and Amsterdam. This new one has aisles that lead into small nooks or that wander into little corners and there’s no way to find what you are looking for unless you memorize the store. They had a lovely big space and made a mess of it. All of us who were looking forward to it are
It’s actually the second time they failed at taking advantage of a big new space: they opened a big below-grade store to replace the 97th St one several years ago, just 2 blocks north. The ground-floor coffee corner/Internet café made for a seedy entrance and the basement shopping experience was subpar (as it were). They actually had better specialty items and layout there than in the more recent new one at 96th St, but with low ceilings, stark lighting, etc they really don’t know how to design a shopping experience to bring people in (also, they kept open the 97th St store, so most customers just kept going to the one they knew and didn’t have to take an escalator down to.).
I believe the owner of the 96th St Key Foods (and prior 97th St and 100th St) is not same owner as 86th/Amsterdam store.
That was the most peculiar thing, the short-lived basement store. I never understood why they opened it and kept the other one open, and then it closed quickly!
Most items sold at Key Foods are cheaper at Whole Foods. True.
Most items sold at Key Foods are not sold at Whole Foods. Most supermarkets including key food are full of processed foods that have ingredients that Whole Foods doesn’t allow.
I’m not saying that Whole Foods is better just that they carry different products
While sad about Big Nicks, Two Boots will be a great addition to the neighborhood with their distinctive pizzas! Best news for me (not my belly) in a while!
Wow, I haven’t missed Two Boots. I was glad they were replaced at 96th Street by the much better La Vera, which has normal pizza instead of Two Boots weird gimmicky offerings.
Oh I missed Two Boots! Hope they do well and expand further up again.
I always noticed that sale prices at the 97 St were higher than the one on 86 St location. I can’t see how the owners of the 86 St location would operate two places so close by but maybe until the construction is completed. I hope they will not overprice groceries like they do at the 97 St location.
My daughter and I were thinking that since there are practically no clothing stores between 72nd street to 96th on Broadway that the former DSW would be a great location for Nordtrom Rack. The only place for clothes is Bloomingdales Oultet,
I forgot there is Marshalls .