Fratelli la Bufala and 78 Below Now Open

By Leslie Albrecht on May 3, 2012 9:20am 

UPPER WEST SIDE —

OPENINGS

Gourmet grocery shoppers who need more breathing room may want to check out Westside Market's newest outpost at 2589 Broadway and West 97th Street — the aisles are a full six inches wider Westside Market's West 110th Street location, said CEO George Zoitas.

The market opened in late March and held a grand opening event on May 2. Like Westside Market's other stores, the new location is open 24 hours a day and offers prepared foods such as grilled salmon and roasted vegetables, all of which are cooked on the premises.

Zoitas said he's already noticed differences between shoppers at the West 97th Street and West 110th Street stores. At West 110th, many shoppers seem to be singles who prefer smaller portions of prepared foods, while West 97th Street seems to attract more families, who buy four or five helpings of dishes like lasagna, said Zoitas.

"We're trying to merchandise the store to its neighborhood," Zoitas said. "We thought it would be similar to 110th Street, but 13 blocks away makes a world of difference, which was a shock to us."

Also adding to Upper West Siders' gourmet grocer options is 491 Gastronomie, a combination high-end grocery and cafe that opened recently at 491 Columbus Ave. near West 84th Street. In addition to prepared foods, the store carries cheeses, charcuterie, baked goods, and gluten-free items, according to a press release.

"Every product at Gastronomie 491 has been personally chosen by owner Nicole Ahronee, with a focus on artisanal products from small producers made with all-natural ingredients both locally and around the world," according to the press release.  Ahronee told food blog Food and Things that Gastronomie 491 is aimed at people who are "tired of Zabar's."

Long-awaited pizza restaurant Fratelli la Bufala opened this week at 2161 Broadway and West 76th Street. A reviewer on West Side Rag praised the fresh-tasting sauce, while My Upper West mentioned the crust's "nice texture."

Kids who want to learn how to make their own WALL-E are in luck. RoboFun, an educational organization that teaches kids how to make robots, design video games and create stop motion animation opened recently a new location at 2672 Broadway between West 101st and 102nd streets.

Maria Bonita, a Mexican restaurant, opened recently at 2672 Broadway and West 102nd Street, replacing Mama Mexico, a Mexican restaurant that closed abruptedly in January 2012 after 15 years in business.

Dress shop Variazioni opened in April at 2659 Broadway and West 101st Street. The women's clothing boutique is also opening a new location at 2603 Broadway, near West 98th Street, in roughly two months, the property owner said.

New bar 78 Below opened recently in the subterranean space at 380 Columbus Ave. near West 78th Street, West Side Rag reported. 78 Below replaces P&G Bar in the space, and like its predecessor it will host live music.

CLOSING

Associated Supermarket, on Amsterdam Avenue and West 99th Street closed suddenly in April after two years in business at Columbus Square, West Side Rag and the Columbia Spectator reported.

COMING SOON

Cafe Irving Farm is opening soon at 264 W. 79th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam, reported Sprudge. The company's website says the new store will be open this May.

Three new stores are opening soon at the Columbus Square luxury housing and retail complex on Columbus Avenue between West 97th and West 100th streets. Verizon recently leased a retail space on Columbus Avenue at West 100th Street, and Starbucks is moving into 805 Columbus Ave.

Also coming soon to Columbus Square is "an exciting, as-yet-unnamed children’s clothing concept," according to a press release from Winick Realty Group. The store, "backed by a major athletic company," has leased a  7,000 square-foot store at 808 Columbus Ave., according to Winick.

ON THE HORIZON

A new restaurant is moving into the space formerly occupied by Calle Ocho at 446 Columbus Ave. near West 81st Street. Corvo Bianco, which means "white crow" in Italian, will serve northern Italian food, said co-owner Pablo Granja. He hopes to open the eatery by the end of the summer.

Corvo Bianco could find a fan with actor and Upper West Side resident Matt Dillon. He pleaded with Calle Ocho's owners to open an Italian restaurant at a Community Board 7 meeting where residents said they were worried about that Calle Ocho would create too much noise when it moved to 45 W. 81st St.

Curious diners can get an early taste of Corvo Bianco at neighborhood foodie festival New Taste of the Upper West Side, Garanja said. Chef Andrea Cobbe will be serving up samples of the restaurant's food at the Best of the West event.

Hip West Village Chinese restaurant RedFarm is coming to the Upper West Side this fall, according to food blog Insatiable Critic. RedFarm plans to open a 70-seat location on Broadway, within "walking distance" of West 73rd Street, wrote critic Gael Greene.

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