Recent Upper West Side restaurant news:
The new year has marked the closing of the venerable Tavern on the Green. But the restaurant scene is constantly evolving, and there are some new places to talk about. Here’s a roundup of recent Upper West Side restaurant activity:
Mama Mexico declared bankruptcy. The recession as well as reported non-payment of taxes apparently led to the bankruptcy filing. (Crain’s via Myupperwest)
The Westside Independent reports that Museum of Art and Design in Columbus Circle has unveiled a new restaurant, dubbed Robert, with windows overlooking Central Park. The eatery, which features Mediterranean-inspired dishes and is open for lunch and dinner, claims it’s “sexy and romantic.” Valentine’s Day, anyone?
New York Magazine in its “Where to Eat” feature, gave short shrift to Upper West Side spots. But the magazine did gush about West Branch’s cheddar-topped burger.
Big Daddy’s, the chainlet of popular 80’s retro-style eateries, is opening a new Upper West Side outlet on Broadway and 91st Street in early 2010.
The opening of the 150-seat restaurant is slated for January or February, said Caki Zamoiski, marketing rep for the casual family-friendly eateries, with existing locales in Gramercy and on the Upper East Side. Offering a menu of diner-style favorites, ranging from pancakes and burgers to sundaes and shakes, the place is often crowded with families with children.
What prompted Big Daddy’s move to the Upper West Side? The area’s improving shopping and dining environment for one, said Zamoiski. She pointed to the arrival of retail magnets like Whole Foods and the Apple Store as indicative of the area’s evolving retail climate.
“It’s definitely an up and coming neighborhood,” said Zamoiski. “There’s been a lot of development with Whole Foods and the new Apple Store.”
Another bonus: the abundance of families with young children on the Upper West Side.
But family restaurants and diners abound up and down Broadway. Big Daddy’s will be facing competition from long-established casual eateries—including City Diner, situated directly across Broadway from Big Daddy’s new locale. Numerous other family dining establishments—from diners to pizza joints—dot Broadway as well.
Still, Zamoiski said Big Daddy’s isn’t concerned about the competition.
The restaurant “is a good fit” for the neighborhood, she insisted.
As for City Diner, its manager, Mel Meletiou, expressed some concern about the arrival of the new eatery across the street.
“We’re always concerned,” he said. “Anything that opens up next to you, we’re concerned.”
As for future expansion plans, Big Daddy’s—parent company Branded Restaurants USA also operates City Crab and Duke’s—has its eye on Times Square for its next location. Going national may be in the works as well, said Zamoiski .
Academia di Vino Opens up On Broadway. Upper East Side wine bar Academia di Vino has moved into the space at 2427 Broadway that was occupied by Docks, the neighborly seafood house that closed earlier this year. (212 787 3070)
Recipe Gets Solid Review. Tme Out New York gave a solid thumbs up to Recipe, the downtownish farm-to-table restaurant on Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets. Discerning Upper West Siders had already discovered the barnyardy 26-seat eatery with its recycled wood-paneled walls, where the menu features sophisticated locavore dishes like a luscious seared Hudson Valley Duck breast and savory Oven Roasted halibut. (212 501 7755)
Calling all Upper West Side brunch-goers—upper Broadway restaurant Community Food and Juice reopened today. The restaurant’s been closed for months due to a devastating fire. Today, it was packed, so it probably pays to get on line early for their popular Sunday brunch.