Armando’s Is Returning, Its Sign May Not

armandos-sign-040809.jpg
After hanging outside 143 Montague Street for seven decades, the Armando’s sign was taken down last year when the restaurant and building owner decided to lease the space to the now-closed Spicy Pickle restaurant. Now owner Peter Byros wants to re-open Armando’s but there’s one little problem: the Landmarks Preservation Commission needs to approve the installation of the sign first, and that’s not necessarily a lay-up. “It may need to be smaller and it may need to be modernized,” said Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association. Community Board 2 will weigh in with an advisory opinion before LPC renders its verdict, a date for which has not been set.
Is It Lights Out for Armando’s? [Brooklyn Paper] GMAP
Armando’s Lobster Needs Landmarks OK [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Photo by brownwindsor

0 Comment

  • daveinbedstuy

    That sign is truly a classic. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and what kind of assinine comments arise from the debate.

    Much nicer than that hideous Banana republic banner I see in the background.

    This is a perfect example that change isn’t always good.

  • Typical BHeights anti-everything bull. Sign is been up 30 yrs longer than landmark law (approx)! Outrageous. Restaurants are our factories of today, providing entry level jobs to the world. Help them don’t hinder them!

  • Judy, Judy, Judy! Are you insane?

  • That’s crap…

    .. it’s an original piece. How could putting back up the original be worse than some new, modern, sign?

    Times like these are when Landmarks are more hassle than good.

  • It is a pretty ugly sign.
    Why do they want to use an old sign for the new restaurant? That doesn’t bode well. What else do they have in storage from the old Armando’s? The salads?
    I say get with it, put a new sign that heralds the opening on the new Armando’s.
    Besides, did anyone EVER order a lobster at Armando’s?

  • daveinbedstuy

    curmudgeon, sam!!!

  • I love to see old neon signs! I hope they get to keep it or at least bring it indoors for use.

  • curmudgeon, sam!!!

    -here!

  • I feel a little sorry for the Armando’s owners — and not about the sign. Seems to me they retired and then the Brooklyn Heights Blog did a couple of posts about them “don’t we miss them?” kinda thing and people said, “I never went there, but .. um, okay, sure. I miss them.” And somehow now they feel like the community is calling for them to call back.

    (The Brooklyn Heights Blog made a big deal out of this sign too, which I don’t really get. I like these old signs but it’s not as if it was a lobster joint or anything)

    I just hope they change they don’t spend their retirement money on this thing.

  • I know a little of Judy Stanton and this is pretty much par for the course. She has spent over 20 years trying to re-fashion an entire neighborhood into her personal ideal and is completely unable to deal with something this with any sense of nostalgia or good humor.

  • Ringo, don’t worry, the family is pretty rich. They own the building for one thing, and I hear that the patriarch is a little bored with retirement. I just hope that they hire a youngish chef and create something really special that will please the old timers, but most especially a new generation of fans. I think they should design a new neon sign that riffs off the old. The Landmarks Commission will approve it, they love this sort of thing. The sign doesn’t matter to me, but the new restaurant does. This is the opportunity to have a good restaurant on Montague Street, without worries about the high rent, because the family owns the building.

  • I know they own the building — and I hope that means they’re rich outside of that. I heard they were getting 20k a month in rent from spicy pickle which is insane, but hard to turn down.

    I agree about the restaurant. It would be great to have something good. I went to Armando’s once or twice and I think they offered things like pork chops with two sides for $22. And you’d sit in an empty restaurant thinking, Why am I here?

    If they were interested in re-opening as a legit lobster place, I’d be super happy.

  • It was also in NYPD Blue one time.

  • I also want to add that the landmarks commission is composed of fairly youngish folks. They are nowhere as stodgy and reactionary as the Brooklyn Heights Association and in my experience, they pay them no mind.

  • Montague Street has changed so much. There were several really nice restaurants there at one time- I guess most of them are now bar/cafe places?

  • infinitejester

    This was a place to “meet for a drink” – dinner was just to soak up the alcohol.

  • oooohhhhh- bring it by all means! :-)

  • Sam, get with it! It’s all the rage for new hipster Brooklyn joints (and Manhattan ones too) to open in old places like this and never change the sign and not get a new one. Like with the Stuart & Wright store in the drycleaner store (old neon drycleaner sign) in Fort Greene and this Swedish restaurant near Canal Street in a place with an old Chinese barbershop sign (actually the restaurant closed last month after a long run).

    My absolute favorite all time sign (though it’s not in Brooklyn) is the Subway Inn bar sign across from Bloomingdale’s. Fortunately, the bar is still going strong. Someone like the Dumont chain should open here and do Armando’s better than Armando’s.

    Oh, but then people who live in Brooklyn Heights would have someplace decent to eat and we couldn’t make fun of them anymore, so that wouldn’t be any good.

  • daveinbedstuy

    mopar…i walked by the Subway bar last week and thought to myself “Who brought this place up on brownstoner?”

  • mopar, thank you so much for your edifying suggestion.
    I look forward to reading your “Get Hip for Dummies” manual.
    The problem here is that Armando’s no longer exists. So a new, old Armandos would have to be a recreation, and I bet it is difficult to find the right period formica and patched red vinyl banquettes.
    Somehow trendy and hip may not go over so well on Montague Street. I’m just hoping for good non-trendy food and an excellent friendly bar.

  • “I know a little of Judy Stanton and this is pretty much par for the course. She has spent over 20 years trying to re-fashion an entire neighborhood into her personal ideal and is completely unable to deal with something this with any sense of nostalgia or good humor.”

    Partisan, you put that so well. And she won’t ever stop, completely predictable in every word out of her mouth. No matter the cost to whomever.