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Meet 43rd Street

Lost Gem
Molyvos owner Greek undefined


Though Molyvos on W 43rd Street is the most recent creation of the Livanos family, who have a long legacy of operating fine Greek dining restaurants. After John Livanos moved to the US from Greece in 1957, he worked his way up from washing dishes to running his own luncheonette in Manhattan, before moving to fine dining in White Plains and opening Livanos, now known as City Limits. Children Nick, Bill and Corina (as well as Nick’s children Enrico and Johnny) joined their father in business and helped to open Oceana, Ousia/Hudson West and the original Molyvos, located near Carnegie Hall. Molyvos was named after John’s hometown on the Greek island of Lesbos, where the Livanos crew returns regularly to a family home retained through the years. Though the restaurant was forced to close its original location on 55th Street due to decreased foot traffic during pandemic shutdowns, Nick hopes that the eatery’s new home, surrounded by what he described as the joyfully “small town” atmosphere of Hell’s Kitchen, will be a permanent one. In the weeks leading up to their opening, Nick said, “All I need to do is stand in front of the restaurant and — no exaggeration —person after person will stop and talk to me to ask, ‘When are you opening? We’re so excited! We’re so happy you’re here! ’ I’ve never in my life experienced that neighborly of a welcome. ”For Enrico, what the Livanos family does best is focus on their well-honed Greek cuisine and cultivate a warm, intimate atmosphere, for which he believes the smaller space at the new Molyvos is the perfect fit. Another key feature of Molyvos’ new home on 43rd Street is its wine display, built to showcase the restaurant’s extensive beverage program. “We have about 750 wines — possibly the largest Greek wine list in the world, ” Nick said. This story was adapted from the W42ST articles, "It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Down the Block! ” — Hudson West Closes as Livanos Family Focus on Opening Molyvos" and "Yiamas! Greek Go-to Eatery Molyvos Opens in Hell’s Kitchen with 750 Wines from the Home Country. "

Lost Gem
Mother and son duo Joy Shim and Kyle Shim plan  at Green Symphony.. American undefined

Green Symphony

While the theater community (and Midtown at large) may mourn the Starlite Deli’s closure, there’s a morsel of good news for Broadway foodies — longstanding family-owned health food cafe Green Symphony has reopened. The W43rd Street stalwart was originally opened in 2003 by Jay Shim, and had remained closed since 2020 and Shim’s death. His son, Kyle, who had helped at the deli over the years, is now taking up the mantle of keeping his father’s Midtown legacy alive. Kyle’s memories of Green Symphony stretch back to 8th grade, when “the New York Times building was right next door” and people would refer to the deli as “a hole in the wall back in the day, ” he told W42ST. Tucked in between the historic Times Square Hotel building (now a Common Ground residence) and a psychic, the unassuming deli “caught traction through the course of the years, ” said Kyle. Although his father shied away from traditional marketing, he knew how to turn a dramatic moment into an opportunity – as this New York Times article about the 2003 Blackout demonstrates. Green Symphony became a Theater District household name through straight word of mouth, Kyle added, “One customer at a time, he built relationships. We ended up with a bit of a cult-like following, where we’d see customers every day. It’s been a pretty good run. ” Kyle recalled regulars lining up for the twice-weekly fresh salmon, a health food novelty in the early 2000s. He also remembered streams of industry insiders who quickly came to consider Green Symphony their mandatory between-show stop. “We’ve had a lot of actors, producers and stage crew from the theaters that we knew by name, ” said Kyle. “We've had a few celebrities come by too — I remember a while back that Daniel Craig used to come and order food from us, ” he added. “I tried to treat them like regulars. I guess I got pretty immune to being starstruck. ” Health-conscious performers made a beeline to Green Symphony, one of the first wellness-focused delis in the area. “We always try to innovate and experiment on some funky stuff. I remember my dad used to serve shots of Oregano oil to actors who wanted to cleanse their sinuses, ” he laughed. “I can't say it cures anything but they found it helpful! ”  He’d also get to see their work over the years: “I've seen lots of shows. I remember during Spider-Man, I used to get comp tickets from the customers — they would come in at the last minute and say, ‘Hey, I got a couple tickets — you want to go see the show? ’ And then I would see some of the customers onstage and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I know that guy! ’” Some things have changed since their reopening — for example, the self-serve buffet is now staffed, “Chipotle-style”, said Kyle, but the popular salmon is back, along with newly rotating items. He added. “My dad used to say, ‘people have one tongue — we can't be serving the same stuff every day. ’ So we try to switch it up here and there. ” Kyle is also happy to see his neighborhood regulars: “I feel like the area is coming back stronger than ever, ” and he's happy to be back in the midst of the action. “It's such a diverse area, where you meet all sorts of people and everyone's friendly and we're all just trying to be positive. And it's just so good to see theater business back and bustling. ”One key element is still missing, however, and reopening has been bittersweet, for Kyle. “It’s very welcoming to see a lot of old faces and people coming saying ‘Oh my gosh, you’re back! ’ But, you know, it's not the same without my dad, ” he said, “He had that energy. I had some customers say ‘If you're half the man he was, you'll be fine. ’” “I shadowed my dad for all these years, ” said Kyle, “I feel like I took for granted certain life lessons that he would teach me. ” But as he prepares to steward Green Symphony into its next era, Kyle is ready to try. “It's not going to be easy, but I'm positive we can do it. I want to build relationships with the neighborhood one customer at a time and provide the best service. ” * This story by Sarah Beling was originally published on W42ST. nyc. Original Post from 2015 by BetsyThough not large in size, Green Symphony is a health food store with a comprehensive assortment of bars, granolas, trendy munchies and tasty drinks. When I visited in the summer of 2015, there were at least nine different kinds of seaweed related snacks, each enticing. Dairy-free smoothies, juices, and baked goods are available in addition to appetizing prepared dishes.

Lost Gem
Little Pie Company owner Bakeries undefined

Little Pie Company

Pie has always been a part of Little Pie Company founder Arnold Wilkerson’s life, though his journey into professional pie making was nothing short of extraordinary. Arnold grew up on a farm in the San Joaquin Valley, where he and his grandmother would often pick berries and can them the same day. “We’d go out into the orchard and get peaches and plums and pears or whatever fruit was available, and then mother would make pies over the weekend, ” Arnold said. But before becoming a professional pie-maker and the owner of Little Pie Company, Arnold was an actor. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and made his Off-Broadway debut in the original production of Hair, starring alongside Dustin Hoffman and Rue McClanahan in Jimmy Shine on Broadway. When he wasn’t acting, Arnold was waiting on at five-star restaurants. As a treat for his favorite customers, Arnold would bake them pies to take home. One of these ladies happened to be a friend of a writer from New York magazine. That writer wrote: “Buy, buy this American Pie” and put his phone number up there. “The next thing I knew, the phone was ringing off the hook, and I had to quit my job, ” Arnold said. His first professional foray into pie making was out of his apartment – and his neighbors' apartments too. “I’d bought a bunch of timers, and asked the people on my floor of my apartment building if I could use their kitchens, ” Arnold said. “I was able to time going from apartment to apartment, and bring out the pies. And the kids – they would be the delivery people, taking these pies around to different parts of the city. I turned the 43rd floor of Manhattan Plaza into a bakery. ”In the beginning, Arnold was working 18 or 20 hours a day and ended up running through four or five ovens. When he wasn’t delivering, he was baking. When he wasn’t baking, he’d sit there and cut apples. “And then, right out of a B movie, a banker was in the restaurant having my pie, and she said: 'I want to meet this Arnold. ' She made it possible for me to get my first loan to start my business. And, you know what? Within a year, I paid that loan back. "This story was adapted from the W42ST article, "Arnold Wilkerson — The Actor who Makes Broadway’s Favorite Pies. "