At the Camelot (301 W 45) the Chicken Bar — formerly Ranch 1 Chicken — is undergoing renovations. Store management told us it won’t look like the old fast food place. Rather they are going for a more upscale look. Of course that might mean more touristy and more expensive. They did say they would not be putting out the wooden chicken and ATM machine that have blocked the sidewalk for years.
For several decades, the Riese Organization held the lease on the storefront at 713 Eighth Avenue (SW corner of 45th/8th). In the 1970’s the space was a pancake store. In the 80’s it was Beefsteak Charlie’s with an all-you-can-eat salad bar. For a while it was Joe Franklin’s Memory Lane and for the last several years it was Charley O’s (with Joe Franklin’s Comedy Club in the rear room where we have held our meetings). According to Charley O’s manager, Riese lost its lease at the end of last year. They couldn’t say for certain what will replace it, but he had heard the space might become some sort of food market. If this happens, don’t expect affordable food with a wide selection. It would likely be targeted to tourists.