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Monday
Jul282014

Closed for Business: Cheeburger Cheeburger, 222 Seventh Avenue

Here's some interesting news: The Seventh Avenue and Third Street location of Cheeburger Cheeburger, the chain specializing in gutbusting burgers and milkshakes, has shuttered. Many thanks to a tipster for sending the above photo of a sign on their door announcing that they've closed for good, and nobody is answering the phone.

The location opened in February 2011 in the prime space long-occpuied by Miracle Grill, and was one of the first big chains to open up on that stretch of Seventh. Many believed that a chain restaurant onslaught would follow, but all we got instead was one perpetually empty Subway, a Pinkberry, and a whole lot of empty storefronts. It also never really developed a following among locals; those visiting the hospital appeared to make up the bulk of the clientele.

So we can add one more empty storefront, most likely with an astronomical asking price, to this part of Seventh. Cheeburger isn't Shake Shack by any stretch of the imagination, but if not even the big chains can make it here, then who can?

 

Friday
Jul252014

9st Laundrette to Close on Monday

9st Laundrette Cleaners, the laundromat on Ninth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, will be closing on Monday the 28th after more than 20 years in business, FIPS reported.

The blog posted a nice eulogy for the old laundromat, nothing the friendliness of the hard-working owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lee, who always kept the place spotless. "WWhether you do your laundry there or drop off for wash/dry/fold service," they said, "Mr. and Mrs. Lee always make the über annoying process of "laundry" not seem like a chore."

The reason for the closure? A rent hike, of course.

Wednesday
Jul232014

M&S Prime Meats to Close in August, Russo's Taking Over the Space

Some sad news to report: The neighborhood's last old-school pork store, M&S, will be closing its doors for good in August. Owner Mel Diaz sent me the below photo of the note that he's posted on the front door.

M&S Traces its origins to 1948, when Anthony Schiccitano opened A&S Fine Food and Pork Store (his initials) up the avenue at 274 5th, now home to nail salon Reedchy. Brothers Mel Diaz and Sal Bonello took over the store in 2005 and gave it their own initials, and due to a rent dispute with Schiccitano's daughter they were forced to move into the current space, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, in 2008 (here's a full history). The brothers, who honed their skills at Little Italy's Italian Food Center, continued turning out freshmade mozzarella and ricotta, antipasti, homemade sausages, fresh pasta, freshly-butchered meats, and some outstanding sandwiches in the old-school tradition, and Mel took full ownership after Sal's untimely passing in 2010 at age 40.

Mel's own health problems are now forcing him to close the shop's doors for good, after a 66-year run. Thankfully, though, it doesn't end here. Russo's, which traces its lineage all the way back to a still-extant shop on Manhattan's 11th Street that's been open since 1908 (and a second location up on 7th Avenue and 10th and 11th Streets since 1996), will be taking over the location. Now run by Jack Russo, they're known for their fresh pasta and homemade mozzarella, ricotta, prepared foods, and antipasti; no word on whether they will continue M&S' tradition of selling fresh meats here, but they'll most likely sell sausages, like they do at their other locations.

A handful of businesses based on Seventh Avenue, like Eric Shoes and Pure Essentials, have opened second locations on Fifth within the past year. While it's sad to see M&S shutter after all these years (and I hope that Mel's health issues aren't too serious), it's nice a century-old Italian deli join them.

Tuesday
Jul222014

Menu Revealed for Pizza Superstar, Coming Soon to Dean Street

The tiny stretch of Dean Street between Fifth and Flatbush Avenues is shaping up to be quite a dining destination: Kulushkat and Broccolino are already popular spots, and Patsy's Pizza is under construction just a couple doors down. But right next door to Broccolino, the Italian restaurant's owners are planning a second eatery, and it'll be called Pizza Superstar.

The name might leave something to be desired, but based on a rendering that recently went up on the under-construction restaurant's plywood, it looks like it'll be a cute little pizza place (click to expand).

A full website is already up, complete with a menu: 17 pizzas will be on offer, ranging from "Tradizionali" (Margherita, Salame Piccante, 4 Formaggi) to "Speciali" (Amatriciana, Bresaola & Rucola, Potatoes & Pancetta). There will also be three calzones, including one filled with Parmesan, ricotta, gorgonzola, and mozzarella.The pizza oven is made by Stefano Ferrara, one of the top brands.

This looks like it'll be more of a straight-ahead Neapolitan-style pizzeria, a totally different style from the classic New York variety that Patsy's is known for, so there's actually not too much in the way of competition. The more the merrier, I say!

Monday
Jul212014

El Pollito Mexicano Expands into Space Next Door

El Pollito Mexicano, the Mexican restaurant on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sterling Place, has expanded into the space next door, a room which was previously home to a recording studio named Translator Audio.

The restaurant, which was a mediocre Italian spot called Trattoria Mangia for several years before the owners decided to switch concepts in 2009, has become one of the more popular Mexican restaurants in the area, thanks in part to its inexpensive lunch special, edible food, outdoor seating, and bottomless brunch.

The expansion, which is right next door on Sterling, seats about 30, and will be used for overflow and private parties.