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Katherine Gerberich / Staff Photographer

Shake Shack was the first of the new restaurants to open this academic year, quickly becoming a student favorite.

This school year saw a handful of new restaurants and eateries opening in the Morningside Heights neighborhood that were instant hits among students.

The long-anticipated Shake Shack opened just before students returned to campus in August, followed by Hex & Company, a board game café from the owners of The Uncommons. The newest location of the Chinese fast food chain Panda Express opened its doors at the beginning of December, boasting an expanded menu with New York-exclusive dishes.

Over on Amsterdam Avenue, Midtown transplant Tartina began serving authentic Italian food to the community in October, with the goal of not only giving Morningside Heights a taste of real Italy, but “a place where everybody remembers again how to celebrate life,” in the words of owner Maria Teresa Valestra.

In September, Harlem-based coffee shop and art space Dear Mama Coffee is set to open its second location at Columbia’s Manhattanville campus, where CEO Zachary Sharaga hopes to host drawing and coffee-making classes, display art from community members, and, of course, serve coffee and food.

However, this year was also marked by the closure of a number of student favorites. Amigo’s, famous for its fishbowl-sized drinks and margaritas, closed over Christmas break. Three months later, the 110th Street Rite Aid and the Asian supermarket M2M both closed within a month of each other. It was a bad year for bagels as well, as both beloved bagel stores Absolute Bagels and Nussbaum & Wu closed temporarily for health violations. Fortunately, both stores overcame the sanitary issues and reopened not much later.

Although the restaurant offerings in the neighborhood have changed, there are still many student favorites alongside new places to explore. | @ColumbiaSpec

Shake Shack Tartina Dear Mama Coffee Amigo's
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