Pizza, Soft-Serve and Maybe Cocktails: Growing Eatery Secures Space on Broadway

upside pizza softside ice cream

Dave Cook / Eating in Translation

After sitting vacant for years despite being in the heart of the bustling Columbia University neighborhood, a storefront on the corner of West 112th Street and Broadway is poised to be the newest location for both a pizza place and its cool, creamy offshoot. (Thanks to Dave Cook at Eating in Translation for the tip and photo!)

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Upside Pizza and Softside Ice Cream will soon be opening at 2878A Broadway, which for nearly 20 years was the site of Liberty House, a venerable gift shop rich with New York City history that closed in 2017 after about fifty years in the neighborhood. The space has been empty ever since.

The prime corner is across the street from the iconic Tom’s Restaurant – of Seinfeld fame – and one block from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

This will be the fifth location for Upside Pizza, adding to its other restaurants near Times Square, Nolita, Greenpoint and Midtown East. Restauranteur Noam Grossman and his partners launched Upside Pizza in 2019, opening their first location at 598 Eighth Avenue (at 39th Street) and adding Softside Ice Cream in 2021.

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Softside Ice Cream sells heaping swirls of soft-serve in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and pistachio, alone or dipped in coatings like cherry, chocolate or their popular olive oil, honey and sea salt dressing. It currently has two locations, next to Upside Pizza’s Nolita and Greenpoint storefronts, so the new shop in Morningside Heights will be its third.

 

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Grossman told ILTUWS he is hoping to be open by September 1 but confided that date may be a little ambitious.

“We’re pushing for September 1. We’re working on the design, we have the permits, we’ll start building and renovating next week,” Grossman said.

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He’s excited about this expansion.

“It’s going to be great for us,” he said, calling Upside Pizza his baby. “We are super excited to be there. We want to become part of the community.”

See What Else is Opening on the UWS

On Yelp, reviews of Upside Pizza are mixed. Some love it; some not so much. Many say it’s fine but nothing special.

“I really enjoy Upside Pizza, every time I’m in the city I make it a must visit on my list,” wrote one fan.

“I just had the most amazing Detroit-style pizza in NYC and it was truly extraordinary,” wrote another.

“None of us enjoyed it,” wrote a disappointed customer. “The crust was too hard on top and the bottom had a terrible consistency.”

Yelp reviews for Softside were also mixed but mostly good. A few customers found the ice cream a bit pricey.

Some customers are taking to TikTok to score their soft-serve from 1-10.

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“It’s a 7.5 for me,” said one customer of his vanilla with olive oil, honey and sea salt, complaining there was a little too much olive oil and it all sank to the bottom. But he also said “The ice cream is so creamy and delicious here so if that’s your thing I highly recommend this place.”

ALSO READ: Gelateria Gentile Prepares to Open on Amsterdam Ave

Grossman isn’t afraid of pushing the definition of a pizza or ice cream shop. During the winter, the Nolita location’s Softside turns into Soupside, and in Greenpoint, there’s a backroom speakeasy with cocktails – something he tells us he’s planning to add to 112th Street.

Full of energy and ideas, Grossman hails from New Jersey and now lives in the Greenwich Village-Soho area, where he plots his growing restaurant empire. In addition to Upside and Softside, Grossman also owns Norm’s Pizza, which has three locations in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, and Gal-Gal, a shawarma style restaurant in Midtown East that calls itself “the best shawarma in the world.” He is already planning Upside Pizza’s sixth location on West 16th and Sixth Avenue.


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