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Comings & Goings: Bao, Burgerhead and a more sophisticated bar


As is usual in the spring, there are lots of openings — with a couple of them on Greenwich Avenue. Most of the openings were either Asian or Italian (including pizza), and some of the new spots were from established operators.

Top Openings:

Serpentine — 64 Greenwich Ave., between Seventh Avenue and Charles Street

Niamh Conway is no stranger to the West Village. She is the longtime owner of two Irish bars in the neighborhood, Fiddlesticks Pub and The Galway Hooker. She explained that as she was getting older, she wanted to have a place where her friends would enjoy hanging out — and so, Serpentine was born. It is named after its serpentine-shaped bar and has a calmer, more upscale vibe than her other establishments. The cocktails are original and delicious, like the Rejuvenate, with tequila, pickled jalapeno, Cointreau, guava, turmeric, cardamom, agave, lime and black lava salt. She selected attractive glassware to enhance the experience. The small food menu is fun, with items like Lobster BLT and Tuna Tartare. The space previously housed The Village Sandbar and, before that, The Meatball Shop.

Original and delicious: the Rejuvenate at Serpentine. (Photo by Caroline Benveniste)

San Sabino – 113 Greenwich Ave., at Jane Street

When Benny’s Burritos closed, the space did not stay vacant long. It was immediately leased by the owners of Don Angie next door. Their new restaurant focuses on seafood, but not traditional Italian preparations. For example, one of their more striking dishes is Shrimp Parm, which comes to the table with three large shrimp heads peering out of the dish. Immediately upon opening, reservations (which go live at 9 a.m. a week before) were snapped up. The bar is reserved for walk-ins and the full menu is available. As of now, there are not the long lines that form every day at 4 p.m. at Don Angie.

Also Open:

Mama’s Too (325 Bleecker St., between Christopher and Grove Streets) has finally opened. This popular Upper West Side pizza spot immediately drew lines, like its neighbor, L’Industrie, just around the corner on Christopher Street. Here, the slices are mostly square, and, according to early reviews, they are just as good as the ones at the original location. In Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Ave., between 15th and 16th Streets), Maki a Mano, which bills itself as “a unique multi-concept restaurant blending diverse aspects of Japanese cuisine and culture,” has opened in the space that briefly housed French restaurant Le Song, which had the same owners. The restaurant is tripartite: There is a handroll area, a bar area (yet to open) and a convenience store/shave ice stand. The owners operate other restaurants and stands in Chelsea Market, including Very Fresh Noodles, Bar Suzette and Big Tings. Two different kinds of bao are now available in the East Village: at Gold Bao (68 Cooper Square, between E. Seventh and Eighth Streets) you can get steamed and pan-fried buns and mini-buns. At Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (15 St. Mark’s Place, between Second and Third Avenues), in addition to the buns, there are soup dumplings that come in different colors and with various fillings, including truffle and luffa. Savta (259 Bleecker St., near Cornelia Street), according to its Web site, is “West Coast Inspired with a French Twist.” When we walked by the place the other day, right before it opened, we met the French chef, who trained in Paris. All’Antico Vinaio, the popular Italian sandwich shop, has opened its fourth location in the city (and second in the Village) at 89 Seventh Ave. South (between Barrow and Grove Streets). The space was at some point Organika, and then a Cuban restaurant called Cuban Cuisine had signage up in 2020 but never opened. It is nice to see some activity on this block that is mostly empty storefronts, with the most recent closure being Jekyll and Hyde.

Hot buns, steamed or pan fried, at Gold Bao. (Photo by Caroline Benveniste)


Daily Thread (50 W. 14th St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), a discount clothing store, has closed. A sign on the door announces that their four New Jersey locations are still open. Nat’s on Bleecker (170 Bleecker St., at Sullivan Street) has shuttered. The owner, Natalie Freihon, still operates the popular Nat’s on Bank, and recently opened Nat’s Mountain House in the Catskills, about two and a half hours from the city. Before Nat’s on Bleecker, the long and thin cursed location housed fast-casual Chinese spot Junzi Kitchen, which then morphed into Nice Day Chinese during the pandemic before closing in 2022. I was delighted that my favorite Chinatown dim sum restaurant, Dim Sum Go Go had opened a branch in the East Village (221 First Ave., at 13th Street). I managed to visit a few times before it abruptly closed. The subterranean coffee shop Ad Hoc Collective (13 Christopher St., at Gay Street) is not currently open. A sign on the door states: “Ad Hoc is taking a pause to rest for the new year. Please visit us at sister shops: Rosecrans, Paquita and West10West.” Flip Sigi (131 Seventh Ave. South, at W. 10th Street), which called itself “The Original Filipino Taqueria,” has a sign on the door saying, “After 8 years, and serving over 1,000,000 customers, it is with a heavy heart that we need to say goodbye to our West Village location.” In 2021 they moved from their original location on Hudson Street to the larger location on Seventh Avenue South. They encourage customers to “check online for on-line ordering and future locations.”

Coming Soon:

There is signage up for Burgerhead (353 Sixth Ave., between W. Fourth Street and Washington Place) at the storefront where Balkan StrEAT used to be. I ran into William Djuric, the owner of Balkan StrEAT, and he told me that the new spot would be a great burger place for the neighborhood. With Djuric involved in the new place, I have high hopes for it. For a long time, Whalebone had popped up at 328 Bleecker St. (at Christopher Street), but now that it’s gone, the space will be shared by Bandit, a running store, and Rhythm Zero, a coffee shop, both with locations in Brooklyn. Lilysilk, a clothing store that sells mostly silk products, is opening at 654 Hudson St. (between W. 13th and Gansevoort Streets). According to a large handwritten sign in the window at 434 Sixth Ave. (between Ninth and 10th Streets), a “General Store for Great Stuff made within 100 miles of NYC” is coming soon. Another sign encourages people who make “cool stuff” to get in touch by sending an e-mail to


Marie Blachere (301 Sixth Ave., near Carmine Street) is retrenching: The bakery section remains open, but the cafe section next door with seating is now for rent. Crumbl (195 Bleecker St., near MacDougal Street) sported a yellow Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sticker on its window. According to the official restaurant inspection document, there were critical violations involving, “Evidence of mice or live mice in establishment’s food or non-food areas.” Two other signs on the window promise, “We are making some necessary repairs! We’ll be ready to serve you again soon” and “Closed for maintenance until further notice.” Figure Eight (18 Cornelia St., between W. Fourth and Bleecker Streets) — the American-Chinese restaurant from the folks at Silver Apricot — has started serving Afternoon Tea brunch. The tea, which is $88, comes in regular and vegetarian versions, and features tea, pastries and unlimited sandwiches. Some of the sandwich offerings are Ginger-Scallion Soy Poached Chicken, Corned Beef Egg & Cheese and Shrimp Toast. Zazzy’s, the pizzeria at the corner of Seventh Avenue South and W. 11th Street, traded in the large letters on its sign for a much smaller and more tasteful marquee. Shortly thereafter, Roma Pizza, which recently opened at Sixth Avenue and W. 11th Street with little flags and glaring lights (that made it look a bit like a used car lot), turned off the brightest of the lights and replaced the large lit-up signs with small, temporary-looking banners. No one seems to know if these changes were mandated by some city agency.

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