Manny’s Bistro is a classic French restaurant that blends the best of two beloved places - New York City and Paris. Step into this cozy bistro on a beautiful leafy block in Manhattan’s iconic Upper West Side and you’ll feel like you’re dining in France, sipping a crisp Sancerre as you’re nestled in a burgundy velvet banquette, surrounded by Manny’s collection of vintage French posters. For fifteen years, Upper West Side locals have been coming to 225 Columbus Avenue for French onion soup, duck confit, steak frites, sole Meunière, mussels and more. Our bar features the best wines from France, including several new biodynamic whites and reds, along with craft beers and creative cocktails.
The romance of the restaurant business hooked Manny as a child.
In the 1960s, his father owned the 52nd Street Cafe in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a white tablecloth restaurant with a beautiful long oak bar where Manny’s mother, Athena, would hold court every night. “My mom always had the corner seat — everybody would come in and they would come to her; she didn’t have to get up to greet them,” Manny says. “She was the queen of Brooklyn.”
“The restaurant world seemed so glamorous; watching people eating and drinking and looking like they were having a great time and listening to music — it was a big social event,” Manny adds. “I used to watch my father getting dressed to go to work, all dapper in his suit and tie, and I said, ‘I want to be like him one day.’”
And now, he is.
At Manny’s Bistro, which opened in October 2020, Manny has combined excellent French food with the warm hospitality he learned from his parents and has perfected in his decades in the New York City restaurant business, beginning with running his father’s restaurant at the age of 16 to managing/owning elegant Italian and French restaurants on the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan.
Manny was general manager of the popular Upper West Side fixture Bistro Cassis for 15 years before it closed during the pandemic. He decided to take over the restaurant space and reopen it as Manny’s Bistro because he realized he had come to see his long-time regulars as family, and he wanted to create “an atmosphere where everybody can come and have a great time, make new friends and share stories. ”
With a seasoned staff that has a few servers and chefs that have worked with Manny for 20-plus years, the restaurant serves up French classics like escargots, duck a l’orange and sole meuniere, but also some twists like duck confit tacos and chicken Francese.
“When I see people happy, I’m happy,” Manny says. “It makes me feel good—it reminds me of what my mom and dad used to do.”