Friday, August 13, 2010

Andrews Coffee Shop

One of the last Andrews Coffee Shops in the city has closed. A tipster writes in with photos:



"Andrew's Coffee Shop on Pearl and John in the Financial District closed after 31 years... I think they have other locations in NYC... but it was really homey and very 1979 -- don't know if they changed the decor since they opened. But that and the Pearl Diner are/were havens in the soulless corridor there.... A shame."



Are there any Andrews left--or was this the last?

And if you're wondering "Who's Andrew?" as I did, the Times answered in 1993: "Q. Who is Andrew and why does he have so many coffee shops? A. The coffee shops are named after Andrew Zamel, a Palestinian immigrant who came to New York in 1960 and began opening the shops in 1963. At one point there were 15 such coffee shops in Manhattan; now there are eight."

That number is much smaller now. Andrews Coffee Shops have been shuttering one by one for the past few years. Their location on W. 34th closed a year ago. Another on Broadway and 38th shuttered circa 2007 to become, said a Yelper, a Pret a Manger. And in 2005 the one I often frequented on 5th Ave and 19th closed, becoming a White House Black Market wedding boutique, though Apple purportedly holds the lease. (The Times has more on that story.)


5th and 19th, from everystreetinmanhattan

Of course, we've been watching the New York coffee shop vanish for awhile now. As The Observer noted in 2007, "the old-fashioned coffee shop, one of New York’s most quintessential and beloved establishments, has become an endangered species, so imperiled that many neo-New Yorkers now consider the phrase 'coffee shop' synonymous with—the horror!—'Starbucks.'"

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are at least a couple in the Garment District. There's one on 38th between 7th and 8th and one on 7th and 35th which gets a lot of business. The Andrew's that became a Pret is on 39th and Broadway; it seems like there is a Pret and a Starbucks on every block in the area.

Frank Nunziata said...

Andrews is a chain, like Starbucks. Someday Starbucks will have been around for 31 years as well.

Jeremiah Moss said...

good point. and Howard Johnson's was also a chain. and maybe people will weep in 30 years when the last Starbucks vanishes from New York. it's interesting to think about the weirdness of that future moment.

but i also think, not all chains are monsters. there were once a total of 15 Andrews Coffee Shops in the city. there are now approximately 171 Starbucks in Manhattan.

Kevin Walsh said...

Still one on 35th and 7th at least a couple of months ago.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Ken Mac said...

Pearl Diner went down too? Crap. These are few and far between now. Unfortunately, NY's best known coffee shop, Tom's Restaurant on the UWS, is one sad joint. They only take cash and their burgers blow! But most neighborhoods have coffee shops. But Andrews was particularly delightful and spacious. Nice signage

ShatteredMonocle said...

Love the Pearl Diner. Did that close too?

EV Grieve said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear about Andrews. The Pearl is still there — and open. And up the way is the Roxy still.

Ed said...

I found Andrews to be a bit overpriced, for what they offered. But still, there is a difference, though a small one, between a local chain and a national chain.

Marty Wombacher said...

I agree with Ed. BIG difference between local and national chains. Plus Starbuck's follow a cookie cutter approach to their design and appearance where Andrews Coffee shops are all unique in their own way.

Caleo said...

I think there's a big difference between a local chain and a global one. Andrews never tried to shut out other coffee shops in the city. It never attempted to saturate the market with literally hundreds of shops, many right down the block from one another. And Andrews had that old coffee shop feel.
Well, yet again, another one bites the dust.

Mark said...

I remember the one on 5th and 19th. Weird place. I remember they closed really early, like around 3:00 p.m. or so.

Ken Mac said...

metro diner on 99th and broadway is good, and wash square restaurant on 4th and 6th is the only way to go for blueberry pancakes! (But in the Village there used to be diners on Bleecker, West Third, on and on...)

Ken Mac said...

and Pret is pretty damn good

Baroness V.O. said...

Andrews was one of the only places to eat when I worked on 5th and 18th in the '80s. The area was pretty deserted, if you can believe it. There was a pizza parlour and Eisenberg's (all hail Eisenberg's!) and Brownie's health food shop. Old Town wasn't serving food and the 2nd floor wasn't open, but they did have free lunch (one of the last if not the last in the city)-- a platter of bologna and white bread -- for the few folks enjoying the bar.
I do remember thinking Andrews expensive and not very good.

Jeremiah Birnbaum said...

Man, that one on 5th and 9th was a bastion of memories...one girlfriend and I had some moments there...it was so quiet and of New York, and timeless, comfortable...not retro, just as it was.

laura said...

1) there is a big difference between an andrews/howard johnsons & a starbucks! the first 2 are "resturants" you can sit down & order food. real food like a baked potato, or boiled eggs, whole grain toast, or a plain tuna sandwich. sometimes home made soups in a good "coffee shop". star bucks is for coffee & a cookie. correct me if i am wrong. sometimes i have seen larger star bucks w/nice couches, tables, people bring laptops (in boston). that was a bit homey, but i HATE the coffee & prefer a diner type of place. #2) watching for "news" of my 2 favorites on uptown madison! expensive but comfortable. across from barneys, east side of street like e. 62nd. the other is up further like higher 60s, e.side of street as well. they make fresh sauteed brocolli rabe w/garlic&olive oil. you cant get that in a star bucks! the food is so good that the old neigborhood people from park ave. go there. is there a special coffee shop section for vanishing new york? i am obsessed w/this stuff.

Jeremiah Birnbaum said...

I meant 5th and 19th, oops!

Alana said...

my old boss took me out to lunch at that Pearl street location when I first started working down that way. I was the only place I would go to. Loved it all, the food, coffee and decor. Really sad to hear it's closed. :(

Lisa said...

I remember the one at 5th and 19th. I can't believe it's closed.

Baroness V.O. said...

Laura, you might be talking about Gene's Coffee Shop on 60th between Mad & Park? LOVE it. I remember the BLT as being especially good.

laura said...

baroness: no its not gene's. this little one is definitely ON madison like 60th or 61st. it gets the barneys shoppers since its across the street. (the other one further up -w/the sauteed brocolli rabe- is NOT "3 guys" which is awful. clarifying for the coffee shop experts). funny how names are forgotton & the menu remains in your brain. as for downtown fun i like a really funky one on east 14th south side of street like between 1st & A), it had a 3.99 breakfast special. but the best is in el barrio: JUDYS, its like 40 yrs old. same front! hope its there: lexington ave (e.side) like between e.99th & 100th st. 2.99 breakfast, they deliver & have dominican food! best coffee, hablo espanol.

Baroness V.O. said...

Laura - maybe the Viand coffee shop, 1011 Madison? It's on my list but haven't had the opportunity to try it.

bethpuzzle said...

What a strange coincidence! I used to work in the Seaport area up until around 20 years ago and hadn't been to Andrews since then. But just last week my son and I needed to be downtown and when it was time for lunch he looked up at Andrews and said "How about this place?" and I said sure, this does bring back old memories. I'm sad it's gone.

Cat Sitter in the City said...

I was so sad to hear the Andrews Coffee Shop on Pearl and John closed. I used to meet a friend of mine down there for lunch every few weeks. The wait staff was really great. I hope they are all able to find new jobs.

KayVee said...

I could be wrong, but I'm vaguely remembering an Andrews Coffee Shop in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue and 29th Street back in 1977. Might anyone recall that? I believe it was on Fifth Ave. off of 29th or 30th Street.

Laurent said...

It's a bad thing to hear them getting closed!