Owner Carrie Levin Reflects on the History of Just Reopened Good Enough to Eat
Carrie Levin hasn't slept in seven days. Her restaurant, Good Enough to Eat, reopened in its new location at 520 Columbus Avenue last Thursday, and she's been busy settling in and cooking up the classics from her old spot in her new kitchen.
Her debut date is significant: "People think I'm crazy because 13 is my lucky number," Levin says. "I opened the first location of Good Enough to Eat on June 13, the second on August 13, and now this one on June 13 again."
But when Levin's landlord decided not to renew her lease at the restaurant's Amsterdam and West 83rd location, she knew she was going to need more than just luck, and so she teamed up with Jeremy Wladis of the Restaurant Group--proprietor of a handful of restaurants on the Upper West Side--to save the famous brunch spot. The new partnership allowed her to move the restaurant to the Columbus Avenue address that once housed his pop-up restaurant AG Bistro.
Levin has nothing negative to say about the move. "I roll with the neighborhood," Levin says.
And roll she has. When Levin first opened up shop in 1981, the Upper West Side was not as nice as it is now. According to Levin, the first Good Enough to Eat at Amsterdam between West 80th and 81st streets sat next to a Chinese restaurant that dealt drugs. The rent was cheap, but eight years later, she moved a couple of blocks to the West 83rd Street spot where things were not much better. "Every morning there were crack vials on the floor," Levin remembers. "It just wasn't a great neighborhood."
Levin started to notice changes in the area about 12 years ago, and with them came rent hikes and newly enforced rules and regulations. "You used to be able to have a nice, great restaurant," Levin said. "Now there is just one rule after another. It's impossible to do a new restaurant in New York without being with a big group."
Though times may have changed, one thing hasn't: A line still forms outside of Good Enough to Eat, and it's filled with many of the same regulars that have gotten to know it over the years. Levin confirms that her neighbors have followed her. "I just said hello to a couple that was once dating and eating in the restaurant, and now they have graduated from college and have kids and are still eating in the restaurant."