Flatiron News: Summer Brings a Wave of Openings and Closings

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.


Shorty’s has been slowly invading the New York market. They started with the original location in Hell’s Kitchen. Near the end of last year, they opened an outpost just north of Madison Square Park at 66 Madison (btw 27th and 28th). Not quite everything is ML budget friendly, but there are certainly options (you can check out the Shorty’s menu) and the bar always seems busy. In May, Shorty’s on Wheels hit the street.

Just this month, I heard that Shorty’s was taking the next step in expansion with Lil’ Shorty’s, a primarily take-out and delivery space on East 31 between Park and Lex. I am not sure if this location is meant to be competition for Carl’s Steaks on 3rd Ave and 32nd, but it seems a little too close to the existing location for a mini-chain with only 3 full branches (and a truck). The most notable differences are that Lil’ Shorty’s is lacking a bar, but they are open early enough to serve breakfast.

Lil’ Shorty’s, 133 East 31 Street, btw Park and Lexington, 212-779-8900

This is the first Manhattan branch (of course Queens got them first!) of a popular Taiwanese bubble tea chain. While I won’t suggest bubble tea for lunch, it is worth noting that they offer various smoothies and flavored drinks.

If the idea of Snickers Smoothie isn’t enough to send you into a sugar-induced coma, they also have combos with tea or coffee and donuts or muffins. Bring on the afternoon nap!

Come Buy, 251 5th Avenue at 28th Street, 212-532-6979


I heard just this week that Gravy will be closing in the coming weeks. While I really enjoyed their fried chicken at Mad Sq Eats, the fact that their booth rarely had a line might have foreshadowed that they lacked the following (or perhaps product) to maintain an expensive Flatiron space. Unfortunately, the prices meant they were never really a ML contender. Considering the lack of quality Cajun food in the city after the closing of Mara’s in the East Village, I plan to make it to Gravy before they close for the Crab Toast ($9) that I was previously denied at Mad Sq Eats.

Gravy, 32 East 21st Street btw Broadway and Park, 212-600-2105

On a recent walk by, Chock full O’ Nuts on 23rd was closed with conflicting signage. One sign said “Marshal’s Legal Possession” with a big arrow drawn over it pointing to another sign that said “Under New Management – Closed for Renovations”. I am interested to see how that one pans out. Clay had a satisfying experience that mixed nostalgia and delicious food here in 2010. The one time I ate here was a Sunday dinner, and I enjoyed the onion rings and the chock classic (date nut bread with whipped cream cheese). I am sure the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group is trying to figure out if they should expand Eataly into this space. (Is there anything they don’t already have next door?) I have warm feelings for the brand since I once used the words “of nuts” during a competitive Catch Phrase game for the clue “chock full”. Of course, the New Yorker got it immediately, and the Chicagoans in the group just got confused.

Chock Full O’ Nuts, 25 W 23rd St (Btwn 5th & 6th Ave)

On the northern edges of Curry Hill, Yogi’s Kitchen is closed up and covered in butcher paper. I am sure some of you carnivores are happy that this vegetarian spot closed. But I am mourning the loss of an Indian restaurant in the neighborhood that I never got the chance to try. There is no indication of what might come next, but hopefully, it will be something ML worthy.

Yogi’s Kitchen, 182 Lexington Ave btw 31st St & 32nd St

The past couple weeks have been very active for our Flatiron area with many openings and closings. But then again, we live in New York and this is what happens. Additionally, we have a few more spaces in transition not listed above that I am tracking. There are no guarantees these changes will benefit us working folks in the Flatiron area. Considering a deli on 5th Avenue and 26th Street recently closed and is now a 7-Eleven, all we can do is keep eating the good fight to support quality restaurants and keep our fingers crossed.


  • Wow. Yogi’s Kitchen has been empty for at least two years if not longer. Good reporting!

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Wow indeed. I used to walk by there every day on my way to work, but somehow just noticed it. (Was it any good?) But in that case, why haven’t they filled this space after 2 years?!?!?!?

      • i am guessing it wasn’t any good.

        i have a hunch the landlord is asking for a lot in rent and would rather leave the place empty than reduce the rent like many empty stores all over town.

  • Psst: Carl’s is at 34th and 3rd.

    I doubt Shorty’s seriously thinks it can push Carl’s out of business. There’s definitely a market for good Philly cheesesteaks in the city, so the more the merrier!

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    Yes, but Shorty’s has better steaks and WAY better service than Carl’s. There’s definitely space in the market for both, but I think (hope) that Shorty’s starts to edge out Carl’s.

    • I submit that your experience at Carl’s is atypical. I prefer Carl’s steaks, though Shorty’s is perfectly good as well, and I’ve never had less than great service at either storefront, even when I’m inebriated (which is my usual state when getting a steak at Carl’s).

      • Carl’s is terrible and Shorty’s is pretty good. I hope Shorty’s puts that pos Carl’s out of business.

      • Terrible? Care to elaborate? I find it to be a very, very good steak, better than many of the iconic places I’ve eaten one in Philadelphia.

      • i thought the Carl’s at Yankee Stadium was terrible. However the one at the storefront was top notch

      • Well… the Carl’s by section 410 is absolutely terrible. The one built in at Field Level this year is considerably better, but it’s still no comparison to the storefront.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Definietly could be. I frequently try to order from Carl’s because they are open later than most places in the hood (and I’m usually not that inebriated when I do it :-). They have hung up on me (probably not purposely but it’s happened more than once), taken 1+ hours to devliver and once just never came at all. Pretty much given up on them now that we have Shorty’s.

  • All I know is either kicks phil’s steaks ass!

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    Does anyone know what’s going into the old Eat-a-Pita on 30th and Park?

  • I only went into Gravy about 3 times, after work on Fridays. It was never busy, while other bars around here (Rye House, No Idea) were jammed. So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear it’s closing.

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    For some reason, I never buy Snickers, but whenever I see some sort of dessert with “Snickers” in the description, I get excited.

  • Don’t think it was reported, but Potbelly opened next door to Wahoo’s Tacos on Park Ave South this week. Not amazing, but solid addition to the neighborhood.

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