ITHACA, N.Y. — Downtown Ithaca’s growth was certainly evident on January 4 as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) and City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick celebrated the grand opening of two new specialty restaurants, Bōl and Nikki Green, and recognized the expansion at Comics for Collectors, Ithaca’s longest-operating comic books store.
“As we look around downtown, we see growth and development happening everywhere. The level of investment … it’s amazing,” Mayor Myrick said as he noted the City Centre project, a new multi-use facility that is under construction across the street from Nikki Green. “But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how many buildings we have if we don’t have a vibrant retail economy, if we don’t have small businesses that are willing to take a chance and invest in our city, then nothing else matters. We are extremely pleased that these businesses that we’re recognizing today chose to invest in this community.”
Bōl’s held a soft opening on December 2 and specializes in serving quickly prepared Asian inspired dishes, including trendy Pho and ramen soups and dumplings. This casual dining hot spot is the latest restaurant venture for Dean Zervos and Rich Avery, the owners of Simeon’s American Bistro, a popular fine-dining restaurant on The Commons.
“We chose to further invest in Downtown Ithaca because of the incredible growth we’re seeing here and because we believe in this community. This area is great and we thank everyone for their current and future support of our efforts,” Avery said.
At Nikki Green, Ithaca’s latest fast and casual plant-based eatery, guests may buy freshly prepared, nutrient-packed and gluten-free veggie and fruit bowls, fruit smoothies, and freshly baked desserts that are prepared with locally sourced produce. Jacky Falkenberg, a recent Cornell University graduate, is Nikki Green’s owner, and the brainchild of its tasty, trendy, and vibrant concoctions. Her culinary expertise comes from many years of working in the restaurant scene in California (her home state) and New York.
“Downtown Ithaca is such a wonderful and happening place. I’m thrilled to start my business here, and I look forward to offering healthy, delicious, and beautiful foods to this community,” Falkenberg said.
Lastly, Comics for Collectors has increased the size of its store and added more products, including a grand selection of the latest, award-winning young adult graphic novels and a variety of popular fantasy-related, role-playing games. In the near future, tee shirts (a new item) will also be sold in the new space.
“The young adult graphic novels are extremely popular now, so customers, especially the pre-teens, are going to be pleased with the big collection of those types of comic books we have available here,” said Gray.
Hosting board game nights is also being considered for the new space, Gray added. For now, Comics provides role-playing board game demonstrations for customers who have an interest in learning about the games that are sold at the store.
“We are thrilled to welcome Bōl and Nikki Green and their specialty dishes to our thriving restaurant community, and we are delighted by Comics for Collectors’ expansion as it adds to our growing list of flourishing businesses in the area,” said DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson, noting Hotel Ithaca, a family owned and operated deluxe hotel, and Escape Ithaca, the area’s first interactive role-playing, puzzle room, also recently celebrated expansions of their space and customer offerings. “We wish much success for each of these businesses and we look forward to continued growth in 2018.”
Downtown Ithaca is home to more than 100 businesses, including specialty shops and boutiques, fine art galleries, casual and upscale dining establishments and world-class lodging. In 2017, more than a dozen new businesses opened in Downtown Ithaca and the community hopes to continue introducing many other new, crowd-pleasing and community-friendly businesses in the new year.
For more information about Downtown Ithaca’s many offerings, visit www.downtownithaca.com.
Featured photo: Ribbon cutting at Comics for Collectors Provided photo