81st Street Bodega opened close to two weeks ago at 450 East 81st Street, between First and York avenues.
The spot, which used to house a dry cleaning business, has the vibe of a typical convenience store, specializing in organic foods including fresh juices, smoothies, and shakes.
They also sell frozen and packaged foods, soft drinks, cigarettes, cigars and vapes.
Starting next week, they’ll also be selling empanadas, which, according to the owner, Ijaz, are not found in many takeout spots around the neighborhood. There are at least two exceptions to that claim, though: 787 Coffee at 228 East 80th Street and Cositas Café at 353 East 78th Street.
Ijaz hails from Sri Lanka and has been in New York City for 17 years. Throughout his time here, he’s managed other bodegas, liquor stores and hotels, which gave him the confidence to open up his own shop, something he’s always wanted to do and now that he found “a good location for a good price,” he jumped at the opportunity.
Ijaz shared that business has been off to a slow start, but he is confident that it will pick up in the coming weeks.
Follow the business at @81st_street_bodega on Instagram.