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NYC’s Boozy Bubble Tea Shop Fizzles Out — and More Closings

A regularly updated roundup of closed restaurants in New York City

Three yellow drinks with yellow and orange boba floating inside.
A selection of cocktails at the now-defunct Bubbleology in the East Village.
Bubbleology

Nearly two years after New York’s first indoor dining shutdown, restaurants and bars continue to close their doors. At least 1,000 have closed since March 2020 due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the difficulty of tracking restaurant and bar closings, experts say that number could be even higher, and will likely take months or even years to assess.

Among them are newer neighborhood spots like Jeepney and Hunky Dory, along with decades-old institutions including 21 Club, Fedora, and Frank’s Cocktail Lounge. Below, Eater is documenting the city’s permanent restaurant closures so far. If a restaurant or bar has closed in your neighborhood, let us know at tips@eater.com. This post will be updated regularly.

December 23

East Village: Bubbleology, a bubble tea chain hailing from London, closed the doors on its first and only New York outpost, according to EV Grieve. The shop first opened on East Seventh Street in 2019 and was known for its boozy bubble tea cocktails. The reason for the closure was not given.

East Village: The EV Grieve also reports that breakfast spot Cornerstone Cafe is no more. The cafe had been in the neighborhood for 10 years, but, according to its Instagram, the pandemic and associated restrictions proved to be too much for the business.

Gowanus: Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, a Third Avenue restaurant that was opened by Bill Fletcher in 2012, calls it quits today, December 23.

December 17

Greenpoint: After 15 years in Greenpoint, Champion Coffee closed on December 12. Owner Talitha Whidbee told Greenpointers: “I am so burnt out and all the levels of owning a cafe are so much more complicated: no milk, cup shortage, staffing issues, the actual cost of coffee beans right now, my landlord…” She added, “Coffee is going to be expensive soon to reflect all the increases we have just covered and 5 cafes have opened in our area.”

East Village: When Sidewalk Cafe, a restaurant that also served as a space for open mic in the neighborhood for nearly 35 years closed in 2019, many were curious about what would replace it. Restaurant and bar August Laura, which took over the space that year, has already called it quits.

East Village: The Avenue A outpost of Caffè Bene, a chain coffee shop has shuttered. According to the EV Grieve, this particular franchise owner’s family also owns a deli uptown, and they “decided to combine the business.” EV Grieve also reported that there was discussion of a rent hike for the storefront of $2,000 per month increase.

East Village: A Bowery restaurant space that has seen lots of turnover in recent years has met its latest match. Gia Trattoria, an Italian restaurant said to be owned by Gino Sorbillo, a chef from Naples, has shut down after just four months.

East Village: Banh mi spot Original Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches has closed at 216 Avenue A, near 13th Street. According to the EV Grieve, the Original Nicky’s had just moved its outpost to this storefront, a mere seven months ago.

Lower East Side: Snack Bowery, a snack shop with a global snack selection, has shuttered on the Lower East Side. The spot, which only opened this past July, told EV Grieve that it had chose to close its doors due to supply chain issues.

December 10

Bushwick: Bodeguita, a CBD and queer-friendly bar, has turned over the keys to a new venture. According to Grub Street, some elements of the bar remain in place at the new business which took over: Ornithology Jazz Club, which comes from Rie Yamaguchi-Borden and her husband Mitchell Borden, who have opened nightclubs like Fat Cat in the past.

Lower East Side: Rice & Miso, known for its rice balls, or onigiri, in flavors like ume, as well as its bento boxes, is closing its Forsyth Street location. Owner Mika Hatsushima, a former model in Tokyo, started Rice & Miso as a Brooklyn Flea pop-up back in 2012. On Instagram, Hatsushima cited a staffing shortage as the reason behind the closure. Her location at 134 Nevins Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, will remain open (an additional outpost at 139 Plymouth Street in Dumbo also remains, but is listed on the team’s site as temporarily closed).

Park Slope: Johnny Mack’s Bar and Grill, a neighborhood pub open that was open for around 25 years, has shuttered. In its place, Allison Arevalo will open a second, expanded location of her pandemic-hit pasta spot Pasta Louise come spring.

December 3

Astoria: A beloved neighborhood Greek-Cypriot taverna is calling it quits after 33 years in Queens. According to the Greek Reporter, Zenon Taverna officially closed on Sunday, November 28. The publication reports that the restaurant, which first opened in 1988, was run by chef Stelios Papageorgiou, who came to the U.S. by way of Cyprus. Until its closure, the space was kept running by members of his family. The publication also details how the restaurant got involved with making meals for hospital workers during the pandemic.

East Village: According to EV Grieve, vegetarian Indian restaurant Ahimsa Garden, located at 265 East 10th Street, between Avenue A and First Avenue, is no more. But fear not: According to a post from the team on Instagram, the restaurant will reopen uptown at 204 East 38th Street, between Second and Third avenues, in early December.

Elmhurst: Kazuo Yoshida, the star chef behind Chinatown’s omakase hot spot Juku opened Yoshidaya by Kazuo in Elmhurst. The Japanese-style spot had a small-but-mighty menu with dishes like lobster Japanese pancakes, that helped land the restaurant on Eater’s Queens heat map. Yelp and Google have marked the restaurant as permanently closed and Yoshida no longer lists Yoshidaya by Kazuo in his Instagram bio. Eater made several calls and a person picking up the phone says Eim Khao Mun Kai, a popular Thai chicken and rice restaurant, has opened its second outlet in the space.

Flushing: A Korean spot, Monkey Noodle Bar, that also consistently made its way onto Eater’s Queens heat map, has allegedly shuttered. The restaurant was known for dishes such as kongguksu, a noodle soup with a cold soy bean milk broth. While Yelp lists the restaurant as “closed,” Google has yet to mark it as such. However, according to Eater contributor Caroline Shin, a new restaurant called Ktown has already taken over the space.

Harlem: Acclaimed Indian restaurant Chaiwali has called it quits. Chef Anita Trehan opened the restaurant back in 2015 inside of her home. She was met with local fanfare, even drawing praise from New York Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells. The last day of service is December 12.

Caroline Shin contributed reporting for the closures of Monkey Noodle Bar and Yoshidaya by Kazuo.

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