417-prospect-place-121914

Oaxaca Taqueria is prepping to open soon at 417 Prospect Place in Crown Heights close to the Prospect Heights border. The taqueria previously had a spot close by but closed in 2011 because of building issues, the owners told us at the time.

We’re not sure if they’re taking over the small storefront pictured at right, above, or the Spot’s old space on the corner, at left. The Spot was closed when we stopped by this morning and its phone is disconnected.

Workers told us they hope to wrap up construction in a couple weeks. The small chain also has outposts in Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Bed Stuy. It plans to open another location at 71 Hoyt Street in Brooklyn Heights, according to a press release we received from CPEX, which brokered that deal. The New York Times was the first to write about the Crown Heights move. 

Oaxaca Taqueria Coverage [Brownstoner]GMAP

72-ralph-avenue-2-121814

Another bakery is coming to east Bed Stuy. Five-year-old Williamsburg bake shop Cupcakeland is moving and changing its name. Chez Alex is prepping to open this month at 72 Ralph Avenue near Madison, according to its Facebook page.

On the menu will be cupcakes, cookies, banana pudding and other desserts. Its former location, now closed, was 390 Metropolitan Avenue, next to Momofuku Milk Bar.

The neighborhood was formerly starved for fresh baked goods but no longer. Cupcake specialist Sweet Lee’s opened on Ralph and Macon in April. The recently reopened Manny’s sells baked goods and doughnuts made by sister businesses Choice and Dough.

A few blocks away in Stuy Heights, Saraghina opened a bakery in August selling bread, cookies, muffins and other baked goods — but not cupcakes. GMAP

Update: We hear they opened today!

1453 bedford avenue marche rue dix 122014

The couple behind Senegalese spot Cafe Rue Dix last week opened a clothing and housewares boutique with an unusual contemporary interior next door at 1453 Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights. Marché Rue Dix sells a variety of vintage items, including clothing, shoes, ceramics and jewelry.

It also offers new accessories and textiles designed by Crown Heights locals, such as jewelry designer Lisa Levine, candles, coffee and tea. Husband and wife Lamine Diagne and Nilea Alexander hope to sell their restaurant’s signature Senagalese hot sauce in the future.

The space, located between Park and Sterling, is open from 11 am to 9 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Click through to see the interior. GMAP

(more…)

300-malcolm-x-1-121614

The long awaited and highly anticipated remake of the Casablana Cocktail Lounge at 300 Malcolm X Boulevard in Bed Stuy soft opened Friday. The official opening party is Thursday night.

Owners Charles von Herrlich and Jonn Carlson – the artist-owner of Noho’s Von bar and the artist-designer who built Bed-Vyne Brew – kept the Permastone facade but put in new doors and windows (although they’re hard to see under the security bars). Inside, there is a vintage feel and the old Casablanca Lounge sign decorates the bar. Click through for some interior pics we shot through the window this morning.

“Good drinks, tunes and peeps,” according to a neighbor who commented on Facebook.

Anyone been in yet?

Casablanca Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP
(more…)

1381-bushwick-avenue-111114

A long-shuttered storefront at 1381-1385 Bushwick Avenue is for rent. The space is about 2,000 square feet and asking rent is $28 a square foot, according to a listing from Core Realty.

The other storefronts have signs advertising various social services of the Bushwick Development Corp., but we can’t recall any of them ever being open in the six years we’ve lived in the area. The building was at one time owned by Bushwick Development Corp. but now belongs to an LLC.

The whole property is big enough for a full-service grocery store, but there are already plenty on Broadway, and much better foot traffic there. We think it would make an ideal location for a taller building with affordable housing.

What would you like to see in this space? GMAP

298-bond-street-121214

Lower East Side mainstay Fringe Salon opened its first location in Brooklyn Tuesday, at 298 Bond Street in Gowanus. Owner Amy Schiappa has lived in nearby Carroll Gardens for years. Some of Fringe’s customers are well-known musicians, including the three members of Rainer Maria, which contributed music to a video about the new space.

Fringe Brooklyn offers the usual services as well as the salon’s own line of hair care products and makeup. It also hosts ever-changing exhibits of art for sale.

Up in the Brooklyn space now are works from Ash Ferlito, Marcie Paper, Ben Pederson, and Sophia Flood. Click through to the salon’s blog to see photos and the video showing the interior and the art. GMAP

Photo by Fringe Salon

elsie's 1031 bergen street crown heights 122014

The owner of Crosby Coffee in Crown Heights is starting a doughnut shop nearby at 1031 Bergen Street, where he plans to serve up twists on classic flavors and even a savory doughnut or two, starting in January. Dubbed Elsie’s, the tiny storefront will offer eight to 10 types of doughnuts, pastries, breakfast sandwiches on savory doughnuts, coffee and juices.

Owner Jeremy Mustakas has spent months developing recipes in a commercial kitchen in Queens, and has come up with “playful variations on classic breakfast,” in his words, such as pistachio-vanilla scones and a jelly doughnut filled with fig jam and glazed with ricotta, honey and almonds. There will also be a rosemary doughnut and gluten-free cake doughnuts made with rice flour. Flavors may rotate depending on the season.

When we asked how they’d compare to local favorite Dough, Mustakas explained that his doughnuts would be “a little more recipe-based, and in terms of taste, they are pastry: crispy on the outside, light, fluffy and airy.”

Elsie’s is named after Mustakas’ late grandmother, a native of Naples who loved all things sweet, including zeppoles (aka Italian doughnuts).

Located between Rogers and Nostrand, the shop plans to be open from 7 am to 3 or 4 pm and will offer only window service and delivery. The coffee will come from Plowshares, a roaster based in Hillburn, N.Y., and the dairy from Hudson Valley Creamery. GMAP

397-tompkins-avenue-1-121014

Farm-to-table restaurant Eugene & Co. opened Tuesday after a private party for friends and family the previous evening, a reader who was there told us. The chef of the 44-seat restaurant at 397 Tompkins Avenue in Bed Stuy worked at Le Bernardin and Mary’s Fish Camp, and the owner works for the corporate parent of Dos Caminos and Ruby Foo’s, as we wrote in September. 

Menu items include kale salad, crisp pork belly, a meatloaf sandwich and a cauliflower steak, according to an item in the Times. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, workers told us when we stopped by this morning. Click through to see the interior. Anyone tried it yet?

Farm-to-Table Restaurant Opening on Tompkins in Bed Stuy [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo below by Eugene & Co.

Update: We just got hold of a menu. Kale salad, salmon rillette, and crispy pork belly are some of the small plates. Entrees are the meatloaf sandwich, a shellfish dish, chicken breast, roasted cauliflower steak, and braised short rib. There are five sides of vegetables, including brussels sprouts, blistered peppers, quinoa salad, and a market vegetable board. There is also a small late-night menu with biscuits and gravy, among other things, and dessert includes milk and cookies and a carrot cupcake. Entrees are $14 to $17.

(more…)

920-fulton-street-120914

Gym CrossFit KingsBoro opened two locations last week in Clinton Hill and Crown Heights, as well as a spot in Bushwick in October. A reader sent in the above photo of the chain’s storefront at 920 Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, taken when it opened December 1.

The space was formerly home to restaurant Soule. The official grand opening is set for December 14, according to DNAinfo, which was the first to write about it.

In Bushwick, CrossFit opened in early October at 10 Wilson Avenue, close to Flushing, another reader told us. Meanwhile, in Crown Heights, Crow Hill CrossFit had its grand opening at 1010 Dean Street Sunday, a spokesperson said. CrossFit was founded in Santa Cruz in 2000 and there are at least six other locations in Brooklyn. GMAP

212-greene-avenue-120814

The Finch opened Wednesday at 212 Green Avenue, as Fort Greene Focus was the first to report. The menu changes daily. Last week, dishes included trout with squash and cider sauce, poached hake with turnip chowder, and pork loin and belly with smoked bread pudding and swiss chard for $25 to $30 an entree.

As we mentioned in an earlier story, chef Gabe McMackin previously cooked at Roberta’s, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Gramercy Tavern. Click through to see the full dinner menu from Thursday.

Anyone try it yet?

Finch Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP (more…)

167 rogers avenue crown heights 122014

A coffee shop is in the works for the corner of St. Johns Place and Rogers Avenue, right next to the B44 SBS stop. We’ve seen workers renovating the interiors and installing a storefront, and they told us the spot would be a coffee shop. Anyone have any more information?

The building’s main address is 764 St. Johns Place, also known as 167 Rogers Avenue. Above, the Rogers Avenue entrance. Click through to see the St. Johns Place side. GMAP

(more…)

195-smith-street-120414

Yesterday we noticed a green construction shed and a sign proclaiming a brick oven pizza place coming to the old Robin des Bois space at 195 Smith Street, but a little research quickly revealed the sign has been up since 2012!

The longtime owner of the building (not a restaurateur) is busy adding an extension to the rear on the ground floor where the garden used to be, renovating the interior, and changing the two apartments upstairs into four, according to a permit that was issued in February. No idea who would be running the pizza joint — if it’s still on the table — but as Pardon Me For Asking noted two years ago, there are plenty of other places nearby to get a pie. GMAP