Per the above photo confirmation and several varyingly-frantic reader emails, we know that Lenge, the sushi joint two decades into its Upper West Side reign, has closed. But, what is to be of the space? If the rumor mill is accurate, either its going to be a Magnolia Bakery or Steven Hanson and his Isabella's is taking over. In either case, the loss of a local sushi joint probably overshadows any gain, but that's to each his own. Here, the most credible rumorings:
1) "The decimation of Columbus south of 72nd continues. After the demise of Hunan Park and Aegean, Lenge has just closed its doors (as I indicated to you several weeks ago). Photo of sign on restaurant windows attached. Now can we take the Magnolia Bakery rumor more seriously?"
2) "Could this be true?? I have heard from more than one person that so-so sushi place Lenge (on Columbus Ave at 69th St) will shortly be closing as its landlord has dramatically increased its rent, and that Magnolia Bakery will opening a UWS branch there in its place?."
3) "Anyone know what's happening with shuttered Lenge on 69th and Columbus? I recall a while back there were Magnolia Bakery rumors flying about (which Magnolia denied). We've had two recent hits on the block with Telepan and Barcibo Enoteca--it would be fab to add one more!"
And here's the Hanson twist:
4) "Lenge (Columbus Ave between 69th and 70th streets) has been shuttered. There is a small sticker near a work permit that says "Isabella's". Lenge was very expensive and very mediocre, and the sidewalk near it was always slick with grease. The waiters were surly and I once found a cockroach in my water. They were kind enough to buy me a new water. I assume that Isabella's of the BR Guest empire will be opening an outpost or version of its wildly successful bistro on the corner of 79th and Columbus. I'd prefer good sushi to a splashy bistro, but am pleased that a dingy and often "dark" establishment has been put to rest."
Know something? We're listening, obvi.