Monday, May 9, 2011

Bespoke Chocolates closing Thursday in Extra Place; what next for the former alley?

On Saturday we reported that Bespoke Chocolates — the first retailer to open in Extra Place — will close as of Thursday. Here's the note that's Bespoke sent out to friends...

They opened early in 2009. And we had a spirited (and friendly!) exchange on EV Grieve with Rachel Zoe Insler, Bespoke's owner, about ideal retail and the continued transformation of the neighborhood. (You can read her comments here.)

In April 2009, in Time Out's Eat Out Awards, the magazine's critics bestowed the Best Sweet Revenge award upon Bespoke Chocolates. Why?

As if the seven levels of city-permit hell weren’t enough, chocolatier and former Union Square Cafe pastry staffer Rachel Zoe Insler also had to navigate the wilds of don’t-ruin-my-neighborhood blogosphere resentment before she even opened the doors of her unassuming bonbon shop. Insler placated the haters with patience and warmth — and won over everyone else with her pretzel-covered sea-salted caramels, cardamom-scented Turkish coffee truffles and the rest of her handmade sweets. 6 Extra Pl at E 1st St (212-260-7103)


Meanwhile, the Tashkent by Cheyenne showroom just around the corner of Extra Place shops closed several months ago.

As we've noted many times, developer AvalonBay has big plans for Extra Place — "a slice of the Left Bank, a pedestrian mall lined with interesting boutiques and cafes."

Perhaps when chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud opens his commissary with a possible retail space, Extra Place will finally get that jolt of life. So what gives here? Is Extra Place too far off the beaten path as EV Grieve reader Lisa suggested Saturday? Or, despite the luxurification of the Bowery, perhaps the neighborhood isn't ready for upscale retail? Or maybe it's the ghosts of the Bowery's past?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Bespoke Chocolates bids farewell from Extra Place

Extra Place gets its first tenant...And it's dessert (shocker!)

The Chocolate Wars (well, not at all, but we needed something that sounds CONTROVERSIAL)


Jeremiah Moss said...

it's the ghosts. that place is cursed and with good reason. be warned, all who dare enter.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Actually, what sean N describes in his online review of Avalon on the Sound East in New Rochelle, NY (copied/pasted below), a property developed and run by the Extra Place developer, AvalonBay Communities, probably sums up what life was like on the Left Bank back in the early 20th century days when it was an area known for cheap student housing:

I tell you what a horrible company.. I have had so many problems with them. I lived at Avalon on the Sound East in New Rochelle, NY.. had everything from soap holders in the shower falling off and cutting open my foot, to over billing by 300 bucks, to canceling my auto-pay while I was away on vacation which I incurred late payment fees from, to elevators not working, poor management, problems with them maintaining proper records on my insurance, to just plain old bad customer service... I will never stay in an Avalon building again for the rest of my life and I would encourge others not to...

Bowery Boogie said...

agree with JVNY,it's the ghosts.

HippieChick said...

I think it's more the utter pretentiousness of cardamom-scented chocolates enrobed in lark puke handmade by boy castrati during the waxing gibbous moon that did it in. Whatever happened to just super-good real plain chocolate??? I wouldn't have popped a caramel there if someone had put a gun to my head.

cheese said...

I didn't realize cardamom could be so pretentious. Such a bitch of a spice!

Bowery Boy said...

I wanna say it's the ghosts, too. But I really think that it's a tourist store in an out-of-the-way location. It's like trying to have it both ways. You can't find it unless you live here, and if you live here, you don't want to.

These kind of stores keep coming and going so fast, I can't keep track of them.

Too bad the small business owners are so after the tourist dollar instead of opening a store that locals would actually want to patronize. Seems like they think that they can create a store that would appeal to both kinds of buyers, but price-point appears too hard to target in the middle.

It's too bad, but I'm not surprised.