The incessant stampede of "neighborhood institution" closures has a way of making your eyes glaze over, but today’s tally of three (and counting!) price-outs demands observation. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York – fast becoming the most depressing read in town – has the bad news of two of them. The first is Hopscotch, the 2.0 version of Avenue A’s Alt.Coffee, renowned for its ‘No ODs Allowed’ signage in the filthy bathroom. Owner Nick Bodor had hoped to fancy his place up for the yupsters, but it seems the local real estate market won’t rest until the space is a real estate office.
Earlier, Vanishing New York broke news that Chez Brigitte, the humble luncheonette on Greenwich Avenue, is closing tonight after 50 years in business. The chef says “the lease is up and the rent has doubled,” but even Jeremiah is beginning to wonder if his blog is the kiss of death, because he just wrote about its 50th anniversary in March : “It seems every time I post the story of a survivor, they soon go under.” Restaurateurs may want to start posting the J-Reaper's picture in the kitchen and alerting the staff.
Also tits up is longtime gourmand favorite The Tasting Room. The original 24-seat restaurant on First Street was a hit soon after opening in ’99, thanks to chef Colin Alevras innovative cooking and his commitment to fresh ingredients supplied from local farmers. In 2006, the restaurant relocated to a larger space on Elizabeth and, according to some, struggled to maintain the same level of excellence. An underwhelming Times review set a bad tone, and the $18,000 a month rent (according to one source) couldn’t have made things any easier. Alevras confirmed the closing in a comment on Eater Monday; Cravings and Grub Street have eulogies today. (N.B.: The original First Street location is still open under Alevras as a wine bar.)