UWS Openings & Closings: Le Palais des Thés, H&M, Cocina Economica, IceFest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Photo courtesy of Michelle Young/Untapped Cities

Just got back from the “UWS Work From Home” Meeting/Networking/Social Event.

I thought I’d be there for an hour, but was there for five instead… so I’m a little late with tonight’s “Openings/Closings”…

Posted last week that French tea company Le Palais des Thés was getting ready to open their first U.S. location at 194 Columbus, between 68th & 69th.

I heard from one of their reps and it looks like tomorrow (Thursday, 11/15) will be their first day of business.

Here’s some additional information from their press release:

The French tea company Le Palais des Thés, known for its high-quality, direct sourced teas and unique-to-the-world tea blends, will open its first New York City boutique at 194 Columbus Avenue (between 68th and 69th streets) on Thursday, November 15. It will be the company’s first wholly owned store in the United States and its 29th boutique globally. A second Manhattan location, at 156 Prince Street in SoHo, will open before the end of 2012.

As in its five Parisian stores, New York City customers will be welcomed upon arrival with a complimentary cup of tea and will experience a “total immersion into the world of tea, accessing all of the senses,” according to Cy and Aurélie Bessière, the husband and wife team who are leading Le Palais des Thés’ American expansion.

“The New York area is the core of our customer base in the United States, and New Yorkers regularly visit our stores in France, Ireland, and Israel,” explained Ms. Bessière. “We look forward to sharing our passion for tea and our uncompromising quality standards with both aficionados and those newly discovering this versatile beverage.”

Created 26 years ago in Paris by Ms. Bessière’s uncle, internationally-recognized tea expert Francois-Xavier Delmas, Le Palais des Thés is known for Single Estate black, green, oolong, Pu-erh and white teas, as well as caffeine-free options. Le Palais des Thés offerings include “Grand Cru” teas – exceptional, limited edition Single Estate teas sought after by connoisseurs. All teas are selected at the source by the company’s team of tea tasters, often from small plantations in remote locations, and in accordance with a strict code of ethics.

If you’re a tea aficionado/connoisseur, it appear as though you may have found your new mecca.

More information is available on their website.


If you missed it earlier, the big opening news today is that H&M is opening a massive 20,000+ square foot store on the Upper West Side tomorrow.

In addition to all the standard offerings, the UWS store is the first H&M that will feature a dedicated men’s shop, known as “H&M Man.”

H&M opens for business at 8:00 am on Thursday.

Posted in September that popular restaurant Recipe (452 Amsterdam, btw. 81/82) had closed and was being reopened as Cocina Economica, a “home-style Mexican” restaurant. It’s the same ownership as Recipe (David and Vanida Bank), along with Chef Pedro Hernandez Perez from neighboring Land Thai (also owned by the Banks).

They had been targeting a mid-October opening, but like many other openings, things appear to have taken longer than expected.

Now that we’re in mid-November, it looks as though they’re finally getting close to reopening. MUW reader Eric sent in the two photos below, showing that the restaurant is hiring and the exterior appears to be finished.

No word yet on an exact opening date, but if you’re looking for looking for work, they’re hiring part-time mangers, servers, food runners, and hosts. You can e-mail your resume to CocinaEcoMx@gmail.com.

Finally, the inaugural “IceFest On The Circle” kicks off Thursday and runs though Sunday. There will be four days of ice sculpting, food, and music at Columbus Circle, outside the Time Warner Center.


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