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End of the mom and pops August 2, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in critique, current events, eating, food, new york city, photos, pictures, restaurant.

Not a surprise, but more and more independent restaurants, delis and mom and pop type sandwich shops are falling to the wayside to clear room for fast food/restaurant chains and luxury buildings.

Recently around my office alone, we’ve lost a few valuable dining destinations.  Pinch, the venerable “Pizza By the Inch” that was actually quite good and had some kick-ass salads, shuttered to make room for a luxury building (another small cafe was shuttered along with it). Thankfully Pinch will be moving to the Upper West Side…bad news for midtown lunchers but good news to the rich folk on the UWS who are not restaurant starved to say the least.

Canaan deli, a breakfast/lunch deli on 31st and Park is giving way to a Chipolte.  Not that I was a Canaan supporter, but the residual effect of them closing has caused other delis in the area, namely Suzie’s Kitchen, to become uber-crowded…to the point where waits can get up to 15-20 minutes to order your food, pay and get out of the door. 

A California Pizza Kitchen chain also opened recently on Park…although everyone keeps telling me it’s “fantastic” and some of boldly claimed its the “best pizza ever”.  I doubt that, although I do believe they’ve made attempts to create a turnaround in their food quality (last I had it a few years back it was dreadful, with a capital D).  But still, improving quality aside, its one less “family owned” or “independent run” business to support.

I’m not saying that chains are the destroyer of good…but it does suck when a well liked and profitable place (i.e. Pinch) has to clear way for a new “luxury condo” development and a independent deli like Canaan has to cave into the big bad Chipolte brand. It’s bad enough that you can’t walk 10 feet without running into a chain these days, whether it be a salad chain like Wild Greens, Chopped and Guy and Gallard or a burrito chain like Chipolte or Burritoville (and yes I’m picking on Chipolte…i think it’s way overpriced and is extremely mediocre.  There I said it).

Anyway, I’m still buried in an avalanche of work here, but since I have this reputation for having people leave here hungry, here’s some more “food for thought”:

More on these tasty treats soon!

Post blog note:  i’ve gotten several people sending me links to articles about the recent flurry of banks and Starbucks that are infesting the city.  Kudos to John for this find from back in January talking about the fate of the once renowned 2nd Avenue Deli: http://curbed.com/archives/2007/01/10/2nd_avenue_deli_update_2_hello_chase_bank.php



1. dave - August 2, 2007

yeah…sucks what’s happening out there.

can’t compete with the corporate $

2. candice - August 2, 2007

OOOOHh….those pics look sooo good! Do tell where they’re from!!!!!

3. ethan - August 2, 2007

Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!

4. roger - August 2, 2007

dammit..just when i thought it was safe to not leave this blog hungry for a change!

5. elyse - August 2, 2007

ok…so where’s this new food site you’ve been promising…i can’t come here anymore…you make me want to eat everything i see on the screen!!!!

6. howie - August 2, 2007

dude…that pizza looks off the hook…where’s that from???

7. ned - August 2, 2007

Must….eat….onion rings….

8. janet - August 2, 2007

is that bottom dish from the noho star?

9. nelson - August 2, 2007

that pizza looks awesome! where from? thanks

10. Mr. Blogger - August 2, 2007

that looks like a NY Burger & Company burger…if i’m not mistaken?

11. lauriekendrick - August 3, 2007

Dammit CJ, your food always looks so damn good!

Addressing your post, you know I love NYC…I’d live there if I could, but I’m disappointed to hear that so many Moms & Pops are being forced to close shop! I thought Manhattan, especially was the last bastion of privately owned restaurants. Those little, initmate places that seat nine!

This breaks my heart.

When I come to Gotham, we’re going a-restaurantin’ all over the place and I’ll perform culinary-lingus on every little restaurant with the fewest health code violations!

The pizza looked fabulous, by the way!


12. chris - August 3, 2007

LK – yeah…there’s still hidden gems to be found (mostly downtown)…and some restauranteurs are opening smaller places to bring back that “mom and pop” feel…but over in corporate suck ass midtown..that idea is dead. They’re starting to infiltrate the neighborhoods too..which is a low down dirty shame.

But yes, i’m anxiously awaiting your arrival here! i’ll try to find places with less than at least 50 health code violations…which could be hard to do these days because everyone’s sinks are 3 feet away from their prepping area instead of the requisite 2 and 3/4 feet.

Mr. Blogger – you are correct sir!

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