UPPER WEST SIDE — A stretch of Amsterdam Avenue that neighbors referred to as “yogurt alley” for its abundance of fro-yo offerings is going green, with a host of salad spots sprouting along the strip.
But locals are worried an oversaturation of salad joints will ultimately cause many of them to close, as happened with the yogurt shops.
“It was unsustainable,” said resident and business owner Linda Alexander, “especially when the product is largely seasonal, has a low price point and there are so many similar ones along the same commercial corridor.”
Takeout salad joints Chop’t and Sweetgreen both leased space within a block of each other on the east side of Amsterdam Avenue near 76th Street. Chop’t will open at 345 Amsterdam Ave. this fall, while Sweetgreen will open a block south at 311 Amsterdam Ave. at an undisclosed date, spokeswomen from the companies said.
The salad invasion will continue with the juice, salad and raw-food chain Juice Press set to open later this summer on the west side of Amsterdam Avenue near West 77th Street, in the space formerly occupied by cupcake shop Crumbs.
Juice Press already has two outposts on the Upper West Side, both within six blocks of the new location.
Also on the west side of Amsterdam, at 76th Street, Creative Juice will sell juice, smoothies and salads.
At 81st Street, the salad and vegan sandwich spot Blossum Du Jour opened this September, its second outpost in the neighborhood. A third is expected in Columbus Circle this fall.
Additionally, Organic Avenue expanded in August at its West 82nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue location, and now offers salads and grains in addition to juices.
At the intersection of Amsterdam and Broadway at 70th Street, the chain Just Salad opened its first Upper West Side location — and 18th in the city — in early January.
That’s “way too many” salad options, according to residential real estate broker and local resident Mike Mishkin. But chains can afford to pay for prime locations.
“I mean the overall trend is that commercial rents are through the roof, people who can stay in the neighborhood have money, and $14 salads are accepted,” he said.
At the same time that salad and juice chains are filling empty storefronts, the frozen yogurt shops are cooling off.
The Orange Leaf chain, which has three other locations in the city and hundreds nationally, opened in September 2013 on Amsterdam Avenue at West 85th Street before closing a year later. The chain declined to share details about why it closed the outpost.
Orange Leaf sat across from a Tasti D-Lite that’s been there since 2012 and is still open, according to reports.
A Pinkberry that opened up in June 2013 had to compete with Yogurtland, a chain that arrived a few doors north at West 80th Street. That Pinkberry closed in January and the store is still on the market, according to the broker.
Another Pinkberry, which has been at Columbus Avenue and West 75th Street since 2008, closed in October 2013. The space is still for rent.
Alexander wonders if the same fate will befall the incoming salad chains.
“We have already seen the diminution of the cupcake and frozen yogurt categories,” she said. “Who knows what’s next.”