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A Three-Story Starbucks Reserve Is Opening at the Empire State Building

Plus, Harlem Restaurant Week returns next month — and more intel

People wander about the Reserve Roastery.
Starbucks Reserve in the Meatpacking District.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

A three-story Starbucks Reserve is opening at the Empire State Building on November 16, Crain’s New York Business reports. The 23,000-square-foot space, used for roasting coffee and selling merch, will make New York City the only city in the world with more than one Starbucks Reserve. (There are seven worldwide.) Not that this is what anyone asked for: The opening news coincides with an ongoing strike at the company’s first Reserve location in the Meatpacking District over allegations around health and safety issues, including mold and bed bugs. The strike continues today with a picket line at 61 Ninth Avenue, at West 15th Street.

Why do so many restaurants refuse to accept cash?

It’s been roughly two years since the city’s ban on cashless businesses went into effect. Still, restaurants continue to defy the regulation citing a variety of reasons. Van Leeuwen, who recently forked over $33,500 in city fines and agreed to accept cash at its 19 locations, is the prime offender: The ice cream maker accounted for 90 of the 174 violations issued by city officials from November 2020 to October 2022, Crain’s New York Business reports. Others, including Rick Bayless’s Tortazo chain and Egyptian fast-causal spot Zooba tell the publication that accepting cash can slow down transactions and create safety concerns around carrying large amounts of money, while accounting for a small percentage of sales. Close to 10 percent of New York City households are unbanked as of 2019, almost double the national average, according to Crain’s.

Speaking of Van Leeuwen...

The ice cream maker is opening at 258 West 16th Street, near Eighth Avenue, in Chelsea this week. The new location will be open from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, October 28 for its opening day, with $1 scoops available from 12 to 2 p.m. The Chelsea scoop shop is Van Leeuwen’s 20th storefront in New York City.

Harlem Restaurant Week returns next month

Harlem Restaurant Week, a two-week celebration of the uptown neighborhood’s restaurants and bars, will return from November 1 to November 15, focusing on new businesses that opened in the last two years. “The best food you’ve never had” is this year’s tagline, with more than 40 restaurants participating, including veterans like Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Dinosaur BBQ, Harlem Shake, and Sylvia’s. Meals are broken into three categories: $10 “Harlem eats,” $25 prix fixe lunch, and $35 prix fixe dinner.