A quick look at two new storefronts on St. Mark's Place between Avenue A and First Avenue. As we first reported back in July, Box Kite Coffee, a shop operated by barista Cora Lambert, is opening at 115 St. Mark's Place. Work continues on the space previously occupied by The Tuck Shop.
We haven't heard about an official opening date just yet. A look inside the under-renovation space reveals they have a little way to go before serving coffee here.
Meanwhile, across the street at 130 St. Mark's Place, there's the new Falanghina Pizza Bar.
Whole Earth Bakery and Kitchen, which had been at 130 St. Mark's Place since 1991 (34 years in business total), closed for good on Dec. 29, as we first reported.
Aside from rising rents, business had been down... and, of course, Sandy didn't help matters. And it wasn't easy in recent years for owner Peter Silvestri, as he faced eviction several times. (You can read the back story in this article from The Villager from 2007, when the community rallied around Whole Earth.)
The shop faced eviction again in the fall of 2011 ... They were reportedly occupying the space under a sublet agreement. While Whole Earth Bakery was up to date on rent payments, the holder of the lease was allegedly delinquent.
As The Villager reported last December, Whole Earth Bakery's rent rose from $1,100 a month in 1991 to $5,300, an increase about three times faster than the rate of inflation.
We miss Whole Earth likely more than any other recent closing.
As for the new tenants, the restaurant partners are Riccardo Pieroni who co-owns Ton-Up, the newish Italian wine bar across the street, and Huey Cheng, who owns Kura, the Japanese restaurant next door, according to a report in The Local last February. Michele Bruni is the third partner.
Per The Local:
Mr. Bruni, who also got a degree from New York University Stern School of Business, hoped East Villagers would be able to put the Whole Earth Bakery controversy behind them and give his new restaurant a chance. "Sometimes places need some new faces," he said.
As for their food, per The Local:
The Neapolitan pies at Falanghina will be made in a brick wood-fired oven, with Italian ingredients (the pizzaiolo will also be imported). Pastas, appetizers and a Italian desserts will be made on the premises.