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Calling all kitchen aficionados: Its time to start planning your final visits to Broadway Panhandler. The staple store that's been serving New York City's famous restaurant chefs and avid home cooks alike since 1976 will be closing in the coming months.
"I've been in this business for 40 years," owner Norman Kornbleuth told the New York Times's Florence Fabricant. "I'm now 72; my wife has health issues. It's time." He also added that attempts to sell the business were unsuccessful and that his daughters were not interested in taking over.
In an age where some of the city's best locally-owned stores are shutting down in the face of rent hikes — or downsizing, like Pearl River Mart — it's nice to hear that Broadway Panhandler isn't resorting to that reasoning. But there is a good chance that rent played a factor: Kornbleuth moved the store to 8th Street in 2006 (after originally opening on Broadway — of course — in Soho, and then moving to Broome Street), and the retail rent at this address is likely going up at the end of this ten-year lease.
"It's a fun place to browse and they always seemed friendly, knowledgeable and passionate," chef David Waltuck told the paper, reminiscing about the Broome Street store. "It makes me sad to see so many things like this disappear."
This is the first official notification that the store is closing, but an eagle-eyed tipster pointed out to us way back in October that the store has been advertising a "huge sale" with "posters that were made by G.A. Wright — the company you call to liquidate merchandise when you're going out of business." Staff didn't acknowledge a closure to the tipster at the time.
Kornbleuth hasn't set a last day yet, but it'll happen sometime this spring. And, as Fabricant writes, he might even continue a subset of the business afterwards: "He said he might open a small knife shop sometime after Broadway Panhandler closes."