Tag Archives: new restaurants

Upper West Side Restaurants: Falafel, Druze Restaurants Turn Neighborhood Into a Middle Eastern Mecca

Soom Soom. Photo: Laura B. Weiss

If you want falafel or maybe something more exotic from the Middle East, the Upper West Side is sprouting an array of joints to help you sample cuisines from around the region.

Soom Soom, which opened recently on 72nd Street just east of Broadway is a falafel lovers delight. The golden orbs are perfectly fried, then tucked into loaves of pillowy pita. Best of all is the salad bar-like set up which allows you to pile your falafel high with all the veggies and sauces—not to mention endless tahini—that make a falafel a meal in itself.

I went wild at the salad bar—to the point that my sandwich was really a tower of  toppings with the falafel shoved into the bottom of the pita almost as an afterthought.

Also new to the neighborhood is a restaurant serving up Druze cuisine. Another Gazala Place, which already has an eatery in Hell’s Kitchen, is to be situated at 380 Columbus Avenue, near 78th Street, Grub Street reports. Druze dishes are similar to those found in other Middle Eastern countries, but instead of pita, the Druze use a thin crepe called sagg.

Not on the Upper West Side, but yearning for a great falafel?

Click here for Serious Eats’ Best Falafel list.

Soom Soom

166 West 72nd Street
New York, NY
212 712 2525

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Upper West Side: Kosher Restaurant May be Headed for Amsterdam Avenue and 92nd Street

The Westside Independent reports that new shops and restaurants—including a 7-Eleven and a possible Kosher eatery—are headed for the the west side of Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, a couple of years after most of the stores on the block were vacated for development:

Retail Sprouting on Site of Failed 92nd Street Development

Retail business is finally coming back to the west side of Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, a couple of years after most of the stores on the block were vacated for a failed development project and 14 months after new owners bought the property.

Within the next two months, a dog day care and activity center—Playground Pups—and a barbershop are scheduled to open, according to Ross Kaplan, of Newmark Knight Frank Retail. And within six months a 7-Eleven is expected to open at the corner of 93rd. Kaplan says that a kosher restaurant may be interested in another of the vacant spaces.

The new 7-Eleven is part of the company’s plans to expand its presence in New York City. As The Real Deal reported in July, 7-Eleven hopes to open 100 to 150 new stores in New York over the next three to five years, 10 of them in 2009. There are currently fewer than 50 7-Elevens in New York City and none on the Upper West Side.

development3Playground Pups, whose bright yellow awning just went up, will offer day care, grooming, boarding, and training, as well as “a pup boutique.” The owner, Gail Nord, worked for more than 20 years in audio post-production before deciding during last year’s economic downturn “that it was time to do what I really wanted.”

Nord loves dogs and lives in the neighborhood, which she says is “so full of dogs and somewhat underserved.” She hopes to hold an opening celebration for Playground Pups in mid-to-late October.

The new businesses will enliven a block that had become rather bleak. A children’s toy and clothing store, Little Extras, once stood at the corner of 93rd, along with a cobbler, a locksmith, a deli, and other small businesses. Today, only three of 11 storefronts are occupied, all by restaurants: Yuki Sushi, at the corner of 92nd, Lisca, and Talia’s Steakhouse.

The vacant storefronts at the base of the block’s two connected pre-war apartment buildings are the remants of developer Kent Swig’s quixotic plan to build nine-story luxury condominiums on steel stilts on top of the existing six-story buildings. Swig and his business partners bought the property in 2005 for $54 million, but after three years of developing architectural and engineering plans and fighting opposition from tenants and officials, they gave up and sold the property on June 30, 2008, for $61 million.

The new owners, Kaplan said, see the property as an asset rather than a development opportunity.

– Joshua J. Friedman

(photos by Joshua J. Friedman)

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Upper West Side: Bill Telepan is Opening a Wine Bar

Update: Upper West Side: Telepan’s New Wine Bar in Doubt

Photo: http://www.telepan-ny.com/default.htm
Photo: http://www.telepan-ny.com/default.htm

The New York Times reports that Bill Telepan is planning to open a wine bar in the former Elite Cafe space at 185 Columbus Ave. According to the Times, Telepan and a partner are still working out the details of the new place which could open by the end of the year.

For years, Telepan has been an advocate of the idea that the Upper West Side need not be a dining dessert. His restaurant, Telepan, was one of the earliest upscale spots with inventive cooking to open in the area.

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Upper West Side: Wine Bar to Open in Former Docks Space in October

The former Docks space on Broadway will become the Upper West Side branch of Academia di Vino, according to General Manger John academi-di-vino-logoFanning, who says the new eatery is scheduled to open in October. The wine bar and eatery already boasts an East Side location at 1031 3rd Ave at 64th Street.

With a restaurant going into the former Docks space, the steady march of drugstores up and down Broadway will be taking a pause.

Habitues of Docks will feel right at home, says Fanning. The layout of the new place will be a nearly identical “but somewhat smaller” version of the East Side locale, he explains.

“That worked for 23 years, so why change it?” remarks West Sider Fanning of the familiar Docks dining room.

There will be a bar, dining room tables and high bar tables. Pizza, pasta, crudo, salumi and other Italian standbys on Academia di Vino’s East Side menu will appear on the West Side version as well.

Academia di Vino

2427 Broadway

New York, NY

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Upper West Side: Edgar’s Cafe Opens Up a Second Location on Amsterdam

Neighborhood stalwart Edgar’s Cafe has opened a second location between 91st and 92nd streets on Amsterdam Ave.

The original locale on W. 84th Street was named after writer Edgar Allen Poe, who once resided at that address. The new Edgar’s has none edgars-cafeof the funky atmosphere of the original; it looks like any other NY sandwich-coffee shop. But the new Edgar’s, like the original, boasts an impressive line-up of coffee drinks. And, there are more than two dozen salads to choose from, including a Mediterranean Bean Salad and a Beef Carpaccio Salad. In a nod to the immediate neighborhood’s large population of observant Jews, items, like Apple Brown Betty, are labeled “kosher.”

Edgar’s doesn’t accept credit cards.

Edgar’s Cafe

650 Amersterdam Ave.

New York, New York

212 595 6261

Edgar’s Cafe (original location)

255 W. 84th St.

New York, NY

212 496 6126

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