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Comings & Goings: French, Southern…Petco!

BY CAROLINE BENVENISTE | In June there was lots of activity on Bleecker and Christopher Streets. French and Italian spots continue to open, and more beer is coming to the area.

Top Openings:

Libertine – 684 Greenwich St., at Christopher Street

Libertine, a French bistro has opened in the former Gaetana’s space. It is a joint project from Cody Pruitt of Anfora and Executive Chef Max Mackinnon. The space has been meticulously renovated to make you think that you are in France: The menus are listed on ardoises (chalkboards), the bistro tables are imported from France, behind the bar is a vintage mirror, and French art and posters adorn the walls. Windows surround the dining room making it light and airy. The wine list is French and all natural, featuring wines from lesser-known regions (like the Jura), and impossible to understand without help — but that is not a problem since Cody Pruitt has an encyclopedic wine knowledge and is there to advise you. I had to try the Pastis Service, which is great if you like licorice-flavored spirits (I do), and a trou Normande (shot of Calvados) is just the thing to enjoy between courses. The French menu has some dishes not easily found here, like jambon persillé, which has a larger green area than the ones I’ve had in France, but which is delicious, nonetheless. The market-driven menu featured Gnocchi Parisienne, tiny little cylinders served with spring vegetables, the night we were there. The Lamb à la Moutarde was unexpected but delicious. A classic mousse au chocolat rounded out the meal nicely. The staff were preternaturally friendly, not something you see much in France.

Gnocchi Parisienne at Libertine. (Photo by Caroline Benveniste)
Lamb and Libertine. (Photo by Caroline Benveniste)

Southern Charm – 523 Hudson St., between W. 10th and Charles Streets

Brian Cartenuto, owner and executive chef of Bird Dog, has opened a daytime eatery called Southern Charm. The main draw here are the biscuits that come plain or jalapeño-cheese flavored. These can be ordered as breakfast sandwiches with bacon, country ham or sausage and eggs and cheese. There is also a multicolored display of flavored butters. The biscuits are large, crumbly and delectable. The space is elegant (and for now tranquil), and on the walls, pictures of birds and bird dogs hang. In the evening the space can accommodate the overflow from Bird Dog, at 525 Hudson St.

A savory biscuit breakfast sandwich at Southern Charm. (Photo by Caroline Benveniste)

Also Open: 


Honey Crepes recently opened at 400 E. 13th St. (at First Avenue). This tiny restaurant was started by an energetic Russian woman named Olga, who says the crêpes are really blinis, but not the yeast variety. The smell of butter pervades the space as the batter sizzles on the crêpe pan. In addition to the sweet and savory crêpes and coffee drinks, Olga sells hats which she knits herself. Every year a seasonal restaurant opens in Union Square, and this year Torch and Crown Brewing Company has opened a beer garden there. Their original location opened during the pandemic in the Hudson Square area. A couple of new vendors have taken up residence at Urbanspace Union Square (124 E. 14th St., at Irving Place): Lou Yau Kee promises “a taste of Singapore” and features Hainanese Chicken Rice, while Mysttik Masaala serves classic Indian food. Angel’s Share has reopened at 45 Grove St. (near Bleecker Street). The original location was a speakeasy, hidden behind a Japanese restaurant on Stuyvesant Street and was owned by Tony Yoshida who also owned a number of other businesses on the street. Now those are all closed, and his daughter Erina Yoshida presides at the new Angel’s Share. Osteria Nonnino (637 Hudson St., at Horatio Street) occupies the corner spot on Hudson where Main Street on Hudson and then Sandbar on Hudson operated. It is the reboot of an Italian restaurant in Tribeca called L’Angolo. When their lease came up, they were unable to reach an agreement with their landlord, so they started looking elsewhere. So far, they are very happy with their new location and said that everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. Matchaful (87 Christopher St., near Bleecker Street), a female-founded “farm to whisk” matcha company with three New York City cafes, has opened a new location in the West Village.


Petco has closed its location at 860 Broadway (at 17th Street), which had been there since 1996 and opened a new flagship at 44 Union Square East (at 17th Street). Those of us who were used to shopping at the old store will not recognize the new spot — it is shiny and fancy, and many of the products, such as pet apparel, appear more high-end. More details on the building can be found in the April 2022 Village Sun article “Petco to relocate to Tammany Hall building on Union Square East, open new pet hospital.” Set Active (365 Bleecker St., near Charles Street) sells activewear and sweats. Way Forward (330 Bleecker St., near Christopher Street) is “a genderless premium quality, casual wear brand” that sells lots of T-shirts and hoodies. The shop emphasizes its artistic side with the tag line: “We are not a Gallery, but we do make Art.”


El Condor – (95 Greenwich Ave., between Bank and W. 12th Streets) has suddenly disappeared. The stylish coffee shop opened a little more than a year ago. Nicolas Simon, one of the owners, had a fine dining pedigree and worked for Alain Ducasse here and in Paris. The cafe had elegant decor, with lots of attention to detail. Coffee was roasted in the basement using an electric roaster. El Condor seemed to be doing a lively business and it will be missed. A cannabis dispensary on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, next door to Blank Street Coffee is a casualty of Governor Hochul’s pledge to crack down on illegal pot shops. An official looking sign on the door reads: “This establishment has been closed for operating illegally”. A few days ago, on the Web site, Hochul gave the following update: “Under new powers that I fought for in this year’s State budget, we can now conduct enforcement against businesses illegally selling cannabis.” Serafina to Go at 402 Sixth Ave. (at W. Eighth Street) had a sign in the window saying it was temporarily closed. That location is no longer listed on the Web site, and now a new sign in the window announces that Pizzeria Farinella (which is part of the Serafina group) is coming soon. There are still plans for a Serafina To Go to open at 110 University Place (between 12th and 13th Streets).

Coming Soon:

The large space that used to house Sammy’s Noodle Shop and a small Asian gift shop (453 Sixth Ave., between 10th and 11th Streets) has been empty since May 2020. Last October, the owners of Osteria 57 and Alice submitted a liquor license application to Community Board 2 for the space. They described the project as a “multi concept store that will include different functionalities… The store will operate during the day as a café (serving breakfast and lunch) and then evolve as a wine bar/gourmet pizzeria during the evening hours and weekends.” The first phase of this venture will be Pamina Dolci e Gelato and is slated to open on July 15. For more details see Karen Rempel’s article in The Village Sun “Gelato place Pamina is first course of new fare at former Sammy’s Noodles Space.” According to its Instagram, Cecchi’s will be opening on July 1 in the old Café Loup space (105 W. 13th St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues). It’s named after the owner, Michael Cecchi-Azzolina, and is described as “A modern take on the classic New York bar & grill.” Talea Beer Company West Village (100 Christopher St., between Bleecker and Bedford Streets) is coming to the space where Rag & Bone used to be. The sign on the windows says, “Female Founded, Totally Different, Easy to Love.” Signage is up for Sushi Counter at 119 Christopher St. (east of Bedford Street). Mama’s Too, one of the two well-regarded pizza spots coming to the West Village should be opening this summer on Christopher Street between Bleecker and Grove Streets. I finally made it to the Uptown location and was a bit underwhelmed, but I am still looking forward to trying this one out. Nisolo (380 Bleecker St., between Perry and Charles Streets) is a shoe store with three other locations on the East Coast. Like many Bleecker Street businesses, it stresses sustainability.


According to Yimby NYC, the two structures at 18 and 20 Christopher Street (between Gay Street and Waverly Place) have been issued an order to vacate by the Department of Buildings because “the floor is not safe.” As a result, Delice and Sarrasin, a vegan crêpe spot, has relocated from 20 Christopher St. to 178 W. Houston St. (entrance on Bedford Street), while John Derian West, a home-goods store, has for now abandoned its 18 Christopher St. location, and encourages customers to patronize its flagship at 6 E. Second St. (between Second Avenue and the Bowery).

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