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Entries in Scoops (315)

Monday
Aug252014

Nunu Chocolates Coming to Caramello Space at 179 5th Avenue

Nunu Chocolates, the successful Brooklyn-based chocolatier whose offerings are sold nationwide, will be opening up a cafe and shop in the space on Fifth between Lincoln and Berkeley last occupied by cannoli shop A'Putia, and before that Caramello.

I ran into Andy Laird, who runs the company with partner Justine Pringle, and he told me that the new shop will feature a wide selection of truffles and caramels, a cafe, and 10 different craft beers on tap. There's another brick and mortar location, on Atlantic between 3rd and 4th, which is also their flagship and factory.

Nunu Chocolates are a staple at specialty stores citywide (locally, they're available at Annie's Blue Ribbon, Blue Apron, Bierkraft, The Ploughman, and Union Market), and has a stellar reputation. Each (addictively good) chocolate is made by hand, and the single-origin cocoa comes from a sustainable family-run farm in Colombia. Their salt caramels are super-popular, along with absinthe, raspberry, and hazelnut ganache-filled chocolates, and their hot chocolate. 

The Chocolate Room is in the process of moving into a larger space a half-dozen blocks away and has a similar business plan, but something tells me that there's plenty of room for Nunu in the neighborhood, especially with such a stellar reputation.

If everything goes to plan, Laird told me, the cafe should be open within a month.

Monday
Aug182014

Seventh Avenue's Subway on the Market for $7,975/Month

It's been a little less thn two years since an outpost of Subway opened (with very little fanfare) on Seventh between Berkeley and Union in the space that was previously the longtime home of Leaf and Bean, and I don't think anybody would argue that it was a success. It was empty most of the time, and now it's a certifiable failure: the space has been put on the market.

The 1,100 square-foot space is up for lease for $7,975 per month, which is actually on the low end for comparable spaces in the area. The Yogo Monster space, for example, is up for $10,500, and the Walk-In Cookbook space is leasing for $9,500.

Hopefully the (slightly) lower rent will attract a tenant that's able to take better advantage of the Art Deco-inspired storefront, and do a little better job at connecting with the neighborhood. It appears as if it will remain in business until it's rented, so fingers crossed that the lower asking price produces quick results (and possibly inspires some other local landlords to make their asking prices more reasonable).

Monday
Aug112014

Butter Lane Cupcakes Closing at End of the Month

Butter Lane, the Brooklyn location of the East Village-based cupcake shop that opened in April 2011 on Seventh Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, will be closing down at the end of the month, according to a notice on display at the shop.

An employee confirmed the closure, but was unable to provide a reason as to why. She did make sure to note that the original location, on East 7th Street, will be remaining open. Rumor has it that another bakery may be opening in the space.

Along with the bankruptcy of Crumbs, this could be another sign that the Cupcake Bubble is bursting. If you're looking for a cupcake to satisfy your fix after the closure, however, I recommend Buttermilk Bakeshop.

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?

 

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.