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Flatiron District sees businesses shutter, welcomes new ones

Flatiron+District+sees+businesses+shutter%2C+welcomes+new+ones
May Khin

Some businesses say goodbye, and others say hello.

The Flatiron District and NoMad area  have seen a series of several eateries and cafes shut down in 2023. Likewise, the neighborhoods welcomed new additions and more business activity in the same year.

Here is a recap of some of the businesses that opened and closed around Baruch College last year.

 

Closed 

Vivi Bubble Tea | 50 Lexington Ave.

A popular spot for students, the ViVi Bubble Tea location across Baruch’s East 24th Street entrance shut down after the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene posted an order inside the store’s door. 

The notice said owners Yuan Qiu Qiu Inc. and XYZ Corp were operating the store without a permit. A health inspector signed the notice on Feb. 14. 

In addition to its wide-ranging menu of fruit teas and milk teas, the shop also sold fried chicken.

According to Data Axle Reference Solutions, the location had three employees in 2023, breaking its streak of hiring five workers since it opened in 2019. For students still looking to get their ViVi fix, the chain has other locations by Union Square and Gramercy.

 

flip’d by IHOP | 100 East 23rd St. 

Flip’d, IHOP’s fast-casual dining experiment, closed its Flatiron location on June 1. The chain did not specify the reasoning behind the closure, though an IHOP spokesperson said it decided after analyzing the restaurants’ results, Restaurant Business Magazine reported.

The business opened on Dec. 14 and offered a stripped-down IHOP menu that consisted of breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, burritos and various beverages.

Although flip’d intended to prioritize a grab-and-go experience, 60% of sales were from dine-in customers. The chain hired 16 employees at the Flatiron location.

The Flatiron restaurant was not the only flip’d location IHOP axed. On the same day, the company also closed two other locations in Kansas and Maryland, leaving the location in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the only operating.

 

about time coffee | 303 Park Ave. South 

The grab-and-go coffee chain about time coffee opened in Flatiron in February 2022 and abruptly closed down in August 2023. 

A sign posted on the door said that the store’s last day of operation was Aug. 2, 2023. It didn’t explain the reasoning behind the “tough decision.”

Within the first few months of opening, customers who used the coffee chain’s app received frequent in-app discounts ranging from 15% to 50%, allowing the price of a $4 latte to go down to $2. 

Controversial Chinese entrepreneur Dai Wei and investment groups IDG Capital, ZhenFund and Will Hunting Capital run the coffee startup.

Aside from coffee, the menu also featured lattes inspired by popular Asian flavors such as taro, matcha and brown sugar and a small selection of pastries. The exact number of hired employees is unclear, though the small shop typically had three employees taking orders and making drinks. 

The coffee chain also closed its locations in Chelsea and the Theater District 2023. Its remaining two stores are in Midtown East. 

 

Opened

Drink More Matcha | 162 East 25th St. 

Drink More Matcha, a cafe located in the Clivner=Field Plaza, began operating on Aug. 21.

Owner Max Qiu partnered with the restauranter behind Jimmy’s House to open a business specializing in premium grade matcha lattes and ice cream. 

Qiu said he got the idea for Drink More Matcha after the owner of Jimmy’s House suggested opening an ice cream place beside the restaurant. Qiu chose to center on matcha, a trendy and caffeinated tea, to appeal to the local student population.

The shop sought to integrate itself into the Baruch community by offering a 10% discount and hiring students. 

 

Naya | 46A East 23rd St. <Subheading, Not Bold>

The fast-casual restaurant chain Naya established its Flatiron storefront on May 3, 2023, and serves authentic Lebanese cuisine. The store celebrated its opening by giving free meals to the first 50 customers on its opening day and offering a 50% discount from May 3 to May 5. 

Naya offers bowls, salads and rolls featuring Middle Eastern staples such as shawarma, baba ganoush and shish taouk. 

In a 2022 interview with The Wall Street Journal, founder Hady Kfour said he negotiated heavily with landlords to reopen Naya locations in spring 2020 and looked to draw in the small, but emerging amount of people returning to the office.   

Naya also opened a NoMad location at 129 Broadway on April 5. 

 

Avocaderia | 245 Fifth Ave.

Approved by entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” fame, Avocaderia opened up its NoMad flagship store on Jan. 26, 2023.

Founders Alessandro Biggi and Francesco Brachett first presented Avocaderia on the reality show in 2017 and were offered $400,000, but the duo ultimately decided not to make the deal. As of February 2023, the chain employs 45 workers.

As the name suggests, the restaurant’s menu focuses on all things avocado. The menu is made up of salads, sandwiches and bowls featuring the fatty fruit. Avocaderia’s NoMad location is reportedly its largest and features artwork referencing New York City architecture.

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About the Contributor
Mia Euceda, Arts & Culture Editor
Mia Euceda is the Arts and Culture Editor of The Ticker.
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