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Burnt Out by the Pandemic, the Owners of Alice’s Tea Cup Consider Selling Their Business

Plus, a Wes Anderson-themed pop-up opens in the West Village — and more intel

A person exits the front door of the original Upper West Side location of Alice’s Tea Cup in Manhattan.
The original location of Alice’s Tea Cup at 102 West 73rd Street.
Linda Rosier/Getty Images

Burnt out by the pandemic, the owners of Alice’s Tea Cup say they may be looking to sell their decades-old restaurants. The small chain of tea shops, which started on the Upper West Side, have faced staffing shortages, pandemic regulations, poor weather, and a difficult time taking afternoon tea outdoors during the pandemic, Haley and Lauren Fox tell the New York Times. The sibling co-owners are now seeking investors in their business, or an owner to carry their vision into the future.

The Fox siblings opened their Upper West Side restaurant in 2001, serving afternoon tea from a dining room inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The team followed up with locations on the Upper East Side and in Brooklyn Heights in 2005 and 2019, respectively, an ambitious expansion that proved difficult to keep up with during the pandemic. The bulk of the restaurant’s business comes from indoor seating and events, according to the Times, while a number of its customers are children under the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated.

“We are a destination spot for family gatherings, friends connecting, kids having tea with their parents, and birthday, baby and bridal parties,” Haley Fox tells the publication. “There’s no pivoting for us. This is a niche business.”

The Migrant Kitchen heads uptown with two permanent locations

After a series of pop-ups — first in Williamsburg, then in in the Financial District, and currently in Dumbo’s Time Out Market — the Migrant Kitchen is preparing to settle down. The local relief group, best known for its stellar Middle Eastern-Latin fare, plans to expand with two permanent uptown locations this fall. The first, a 300-square-foot restaurant at 1433 First Avenue, on the Upper East Side, opens on Halloween. A second flagship location will follow at 157 Columbus Avenue, near Lincoln Center.

Hominy is the star at this pozole festival in Williamsburg

A festival devoted to the hominy soup known as pozole will return for a second year in Williamsburg on October 23. The one-day event, called Bowl of ’Zole, will showcase various preparations of the Mexican stew, executed by chefs from Xilonen, La Contenta, the Michelin-starred Casa Enrique, and other local Mexican restaurants. Included in a $65 ticket is a mezcal tasting with more than 50 varieties of the agave spirit.

A Wes Anderson-themed pop-up opens in the West Village

In tandem with the release of Wes Anderson’s latest film the French Dispatch, Whalebone Magazine has transformed its 328 Bleecker Street storefront into a pop-up cafe with decor inspired by the movie. There’s no food, but there’s coffee from New York’s Flying Coffee company and plenty of vibes. The pop-up runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., October 22 through 24.

Celebrate Filipino American History Month with ube doughnuts

In honor of Filipino American History Month, Barkada Market Market is throwing its inaugural Manila Zoo food and music festival. About 50 food vendors, a good mix of old-school mom-and-pops and newer pop-ups — including So Sarap, Ihawan, and From Kora — will be serving dishes as varied as barbecued skewers and ube doughnuts from Astoria’s Radial Park, at 27-50 First Street. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 24. — Caroline Shin, contributor

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