continuously operating bars and restaurants

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Noho Star & Temple Bar


On Lafayette Street since 1985, The Noho Star still has an old-school vibe that attracts low-key neighborhood people along with New York luminaries like Chuck Close, Wallace Shawn, and Lauren Hutton. The restaurant’s sister spot, Temple Bar, opened in 1989.

Now both are about to vanish.

The owners recently filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) with the New York State Department of Labor, indicating plans to lay off Noho Star’s staff of 54 workers and close the restaurant on December 31.

Under “Reason for Dislocation,” it says “Economic.” The same listing is given for Temple Bar–all 13 employees laid off and the place closed December 31.

Noho Star and Temple Bar were both opened by George Schwarz, a 1930s German-Jewish emigre who began his New York restaurant empire in 1973 with Elephant and Castle in Greenwich Village, followed by One Fifth (since closed). He then acquired and revived the great Keens Chop House when it closed in 1978. From there, he and his artist wife, Kiki Kogelnik, opened Noho Star and Temple Bar. They also bought the building.

Schwarz died not a year ago, in December 2016. His friend Bonnie Jenkins, long-time manager of Keens, is Vice President of the closing restaurants. (Jenkins prefers not to comment on the closures at this time.)

There are no indications that the shutter is coming for Keens or Elephant and Castle.

Eggs Idaho

Only in the past few years did I finally find my way to Noho Star. In a neighborhood of dwindling options, it’s one of the last comfortable places to get a decent meal, i.e., a place that attracts a mixed-age crowd and doesn’t play loud music (or any music) while you eat. It’s a place where a person can dine alone, reading The Times (on paper) or The London Review of Books (as recently witnessed). It’s a place where you can think.

I will miss it.

from The Comments Section:


MKB said…

The Noho Star in turn replaced a dusty and old office supply store (where you could still buy V-Mail stationery as late as the Seventies) and NYC’s worst restaurant. That restaurant was so bad junkies and narcs (back in the day when a narc disguise was a serape and a wig) were the main customers. Why was I there? It was also the cheapest and right around the corner from my place on Mott.
I am so very sad that the Noho Star will be no more. Lots of memories.

October 10, 2017 at 4:30 PM


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From Bowery Boogie:

Breaking: ‘Cup & Saucer’ Ending Service on Monday After Decades on Canal Street

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 at 12:39 pm by

Say goodbye to that classic 1940s Coca-Cola sign at the corner of Eldridge and Canal Streets. Word on the block is that the fabled luncheonette, Cup & Saucer, is hanging it up. It’s closing shop after decades serving the neighborhood, thanks to a steep rent hike.

And there’s no time for you to process this information, either, as the last day of business is Monday.

Every few years, rumors surface detailing a demise that was continuously eluded. Especially after the building reportedly sold several years ago, creating much uncertainty whether the business would actually survive. Co-owner John Vasilopoulos told Metro in 2015 that he hoped the new owner would maintain the 5-year lease arrangement of the predecessor to keep afloat. Then there was the recent upstairs fire back in January, which no doubt threatened the operation. This time, however, it appears the talk is true. A tipster who frequents the establishment daily was informed by staff of the closure. Apparently, they started telling all the regular customers today.

We don’t really know what to say. The Cup & Saucer is a no-frills Lower East Side treasure that serves all strata of the community. “Giving the people of New York quality food, fast delivery, and great customer service,” as its website prominently touts. On any given morning, you find construction workers, commuters, travelers, and locals mingling at the countertop.

It’s been under the same ownership for nearly thirty years. Partners Nick Castanos (also a cook) and John Vasilopoulos took over the business in 1988, yet local lore suggests the corner kitchen dates back some 77 years. The duo also owns a diner in Ridgewood, Queens.

Our tipster surmises that the luncheonette also fell victim to the effects of failed development (i.e. the Canal Tower) and the encroaching Chinatown Bus situation that’s multiplying along Canal Street between Forsyth and Allen.

Visual Documentation of the distinguishing interior features of the now-bygone The Cup & Saucer Luncheonette (from Untapped Cities.com)

Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup & Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

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From silive.com:

Schaffer’s Tavern: Winky says ‘it’s time’ for last call; sets closing date

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from Eater New York:

Le Perigord Shutters After 53 Years to De-Unionize

Owner Georges Briguet plans to reopen it as a new restaurant later this year

Update: Local 100 organizer Mike Feld tells Eater that he’s been negotiating with Briguet since last year, and the owner’s been clear that he’s not happy with the increases.…

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from The NY Post:

Carnegie Deli will close at end of 2016

The Carnegie Deli, a New York institution since 1937, will soon serve its last “Woody Allen.”

The iconic home to gigantic Jewish-style sandwiches — like the 4-inch-high, pastrami-and-corned beef “Woody” on rye — will close its doors forever on Dec. 31, The Post has learned.

Restaurant owner Marian Harper Levine tearfully broke the news to 60 heartbroken employees on Friday morning.

Levine, 65, said, “At this stage of my life, the early mornings to late nights have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business.”

“I’m very sad to close the Carnegie Deli but I’ve reached the time of my life when I need to take a step back,” Levine said. Her family has owned the Carnegie since 1976.

The news will sadden New Yorkers who loved Carnegie Deli’s belt-popping sandwiches and kitschy confines, which boast hundreds of photos of mostly forgotten celebrities — and nostalgia to spare.

In a New York Post essay in December 2015, when the place was temporarily closed following a gas leak, Ted Merwin, author of “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli,” wrote:

“Since 1937, the Carnegie’s skyscraper sandwiches and obnoxious waiters encapsulated the very ethos of excess that characterized New York as a whole.”

Merwin said it would be “tragic” for the city if the Carnegie didn’t reopen.

Unlike at some other famous restaurants that recently closed, Levine had no landlord to blame — she owns the six-story building at 854 Seventh Ave. between West 54th and 55th streets.

But the Carnegie, and Marian, were long under strain.

The dining room shrank when Levine lost her lease on annex space in a building next door a few years ago.

She went through a bitter divorce from ex-husband “Sandy” Levine, who carried on a long-term affair with a former waitress and allegedly stole Carnegie’s pastrami and cheesecake recipes. The recipes were allegedly then used in the girlfriend’s family’s restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

Two years ago, the restaurant was ordered by a federal court to fork over $2.6 million in back wages to employees who were cheated out of proper pay — which Marian blamed on her ex-husband, whom she accused of embezzlement.

Then, in April 2015, the city shut the Carnegie Deli down for nine months over an illegal gas hookup — which Marian also blamed on Sandy.

The divorce was settled out of court. Terms were not revealed.

Carnegie Deli reopened last February with sidewalk hawkers dressed as pickles. It drew lines around the block and Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a celebratory photo of a pastrami sandwich.

But now the matzo ball soup’s run dry.

Levine will continue to license Carnegie Deli outposts in Las Vegas and Bethlehem, Pa., as well as at some sports venues.

“Moving forward, Marian Harper hopes to keep her father’s legacy alive by focusing on licensing the iconic Carnegie Deli brand and selling their world-famous products for wholesale distribution,” said her spokesperson, Cristyne Nicholas.

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Disclosure: I have never been to The Four Seasons. Besides being way out of my budget, not to mention my (logistical) orbit, I figured the sort of people who ran and patronized it would take one look at working-class me, and unceremoniously tell me that as someone obviously neither rich nor famous, and as a woman unescorted, I had no business being there.  Then I started seeing online voucher deals offering meals at The Four Seasons to the great unwashed, and reading stories that said The Four Seasons would be closing. Initially dismissing the latter as rumor, I put “two-and-two together” figuring that in spite of continuing media coverage (I followed the new accounts of the “Picasso War” with interest) and presumably continuing cachet, for some mysterious reason, this bastion of privilege was facing hard times. Their landlord decided not to renew their lease, a fate they shared in common with a lot of smaller, less famous New York based businesses of all kinds.   It’s nice to think such an institution as The Four Seasons metaphorically puts its pants on one leg at a time, but oddly unsettling as well: if it could happen to them, how much worse the fates that face the rest of us.  Here are the actual facts, as presented by Eater, in “57 Years of The Four Seasons“. While this article says that plans are in the works for the restaurant to change location to a space in 280 Park Avenue, it remains to be seen whether the restaurant itself will last, how the new restaurant moving into the space will operate, and whether the interior landmarking in the Four Seasons’ dining areas will be respected by the new owners and tenants. The current edition of Curbed, written by someone whose grandfather sent away for samples of The Four Seasons graphic design identity back in the day, and preserved the envelope with them for posterity, also believes both the post-Seagram Building Four Seasons and the new restaurant will not offer customers the same experience following The Four Seasons’ move and movable property auction :

“When they are dispersed to those who can pay, this orchestral design project, in which Antonucci only provided the string section, will be broken up forever. The Four Seasons was a miracle of design care, miraculously intact for its age, and new owner Aby Rosen’s actions are the equivalent of me throwing that envelope in the trash—but not without peeing on it first.

 Courtesy of Wright

When Curbed wrote in 2015 that the Four Seasons was “safe” from an over-ambitious planned renovation by Annabelle Selldorf, we did not realize that everything not nailed down by the interior landmark status would be removed, literally hollowing out the victory. (The glamorous downstairs lounges, with their book-matched marbles and upholstered walls, are not even part of the landmark designation.)

And for what? For different chairs (possibly also from Knoll) and different glasses, fresh menus and contemporary silverware. Will it be as nice?…

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from The NY Post:

All the history that’s going to die with the Campbell Apartment

With its dress code, high beamed ceiling, and expansive window of century-old leaded glass, the Campbell Apartment is a strange place indeed for a bar brawl.

But a winner-take-all war has raged for six months within the granite walls of this dark and elegant dowager of a cocktail lounge in Grand Central Terminal — a battle that pits old against new, staid against trendy, an Old Fashioned with a stirring rod against black barrel whiskey with muddled raspberries.

This week, old — in the personage of longtime owner Mark Grossich — waved the white flag.

The Campbell Apartment’s longtime owner, Mark GrossichPhoto: Matthew McDermott

“It sucks, it blows, it’s totally unfair,” Grossich said of losing his lease, after 17 years running Campbell Apartment and a half a year fighting eviction in court.

Originally the offices of a Jazz Age financier named John W. Campbell, the space had been a water-damaged, drop-ceilinged shell when Grossich, at a cost of $2.5 million, lovingly restored it to its original, baronial splendor.

Scott GerberPhoto: Chad Rachman

As CEO of Hospitalty Holdings, Inc., which owns Midtown’s Carnegie club and Murray Hill’s Lexington’s, Grossich is a master of the timeless, intimate cocktail lounge, temples to single malt scotch, fine cigars and tufted upholstery.

…on July 28, Grossich must turn over the Campbell Apartment space to its new lease-holder, Scott Gerber, who runs such hip, jangly and galvanic lounges as the Irvington in the W Union Square and Mr. Purple on the roof of the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side.

The new guy plans to transform the Campbell Apartment and its “business casual” dress code into something far less stuffy. Something less Brooks Brothers, more limited edition sneakers and Gucci T-shirts. …

Nearly a hundred years before it became a bit of an existential football, the Campbell Apartment was the business and pleasure lair of a millionaire financier named John W. Campbell.

A close pal and associate of William Vanderbilt — then chair of the New York Central Railroad — Campbell acquired the lease for the 25-by-60-foot space in 1923.

It was near Campbell and his wife’s Park Avenue home, and so would be a convenient spot for running his credit-reporting business by day and entertaining clients by night.

Campbell really knew how to trick out a corner office.

Photo: Warzer Jaff

He installed a grand piano, a pipe organ, a faux stone fireplace featuring his Scottish family’s coat of arms, a 30-foot ceiling with faux-wood plaster of Paris beams, and a massive hand-knotted Persian carpet, one of the largest in the world, that would have cost $3.5 million in today’s dollars.

Campbell, who died in 1957, was more a man of numbers than letters, and never ascended to the Astor 400, so there is scant record of him in libraries or old society page clippings.

But Grossich has spoken with his niece, Elsie Fater, who remembers that Uncle John oddly eschewed socks, even while wearing shoes.…

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from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Rudy’s Under Attack

The Clinton Chronicle reports that beloved Hell’s Kitchen dive bar Rudy’s Bar & Grill is under attack by Community Board 4 for serving alcohol in its backyard late into the night.

Saundra Halbertstam and Eliot Camerara report that members of Community Board 4 have “actively worked to shut down and destroy Rudy’s Bar and Grille, a Hell’s Kitchen landmark, in business since 1933.”

The writers says these members have “prompted complaints against Rudy’s Bar” and “smeared Rudy’s by sending word through the community that they were operating without proper licenses.” So far, Rudy’s owners have spent $24,000 defending the bar.

It’s a lengthy story–to read the whole piece, pick up a copy of the Clinton Chronicle or read the PDF here. Saundra gave me the upshot in an email: “By closing the backyard, they will force Rudy’s to close, since the back represents over 30% of their revenue.”

photo: retro roadmap

News of noise complaints against Rudy’s goes back to this summer. As DNAInfo reported, Rudy’s management said “those complaining were suburban transplants who don’t understand Hell’s Kitchen.”

“To have somebody come in from suburbia and say that we want to change this neighborhood because they paid an exorbitant amount for a co-op is not fair to the people in the community,” the bar’s lawyer, Thomas Purcell, told DNA.

The blog stated, “under Rudy’s liquor license, which dates back to 1992 when the current owner Jack Ertl, 88, bought the bar, the venue is allowed to use the backyard space until the wee hours with no

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from Eater.com: Classic Chelsea Luncheonette La Taza De Oro Is Closed for Good

“After nearly nine months in the dark, the owner of classic Chelsea greasy spoon La Taza de Oro has decided not to reopen the restaurant. The luncheonette’s troubles started last spring when Con Ed turned off the gas and the DOB issued a vacate order after a few bricks fell from a neighboring building. The restaurant’s proprietor, Eric Montalvo, also owns the building, but after losing nine months of income, he made the decision to close it for good. As Jeremiah Moss notes, he’s retiring and his kids don’t want to run the business.”

… “Last year, Robert Sietsema put La Taza D’Oro on his list of “irreplaceable dining institutions.”  Eater’s critic noted: “This 1950s Puerto Rican lunch counter, perfectly intact in every detail including formica counter and menu rotating in weekly cycles, is supremely redolent of Chelsea’s Latin past.”

A comment writer on Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY said: “This is, of course, punishingly sad. The neighborhood has lost Sucelt on 14th and 7th, and Cabo Rojo on 10th Avenue and 24th, and now Taza. I took my kids there every week. And what of all the jobs lost? Luis, Lucie, Reve, and so many others. And the impromptu art exhibitions on the walls. I saw Mr. Montalvo there a few weeks ago and, having noticed that he was painting the restored cornice yellow and red (like the rice and beans within!) I asked him when he was reopening and he said he was retiring. It is a miserable state of affairs, and so the last of the rice and beans joints vanishes into the ether. We will all miss La Taza de Oro. ” Another said, “Business by business, New York’s individuality and diversity is being erased. And there doesn’t seem to be anyone in a position of power who seriously wants to or is trying to halt this transformation. Not one. ”


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A rich history of 19th century opulence lies within the walls of the former Holland House hotel in NoMad, now home to an airy beer hall. According to its present-day website, (the original) “Holland House hotel provided “Life style of the Rich and Famous” until the business closed in 1920.” The present-day iteration of Holland House claims to be the largest beer hall and Asian tapas bar in New York City.

TravelZoo offers a discount voucher for appetizers and drinks for two, through Jan. 30, 2016; Monday-Saturday.

Holland House
276 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212-685-2727

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