Crown Heights has no shortage of Mexican restaurants, and a new one, Chika Mexicana, opened last week between Lincoln and St. Johns Places on Nostrand Avenue. The little storefront at 814 Nostrand is just big enough for a row of bar seating next to the window, and we’ve noticed a steady stream of customers filing in ever since it opened.

The menu offers tacos from $2.50, quesadillas from $4, and burritos and burrito bowls from $5.50. Sides include chile corn soup, spiced black beans and red rice with cilantro. Has anyone been yet? GMAP


A restaurant might be coming to a desolate stretch of Atlantic Avenue between Bedford and Nostrand in Bed Stuy. New building applications were filed earlier this month to construct an “eating and drinking establishment” at 1163 Atlantic Avenue, currently a large parking lot. Since this highway-like part of Atlantic is populated mostly by warehouses, parking lots and gas stations, we wonder if this will be a fast food joint.

The property owner is Marcello Porcelli of LargaVista Companies, a developer that owns several small properties in Manhattan. Porcelli’s father, Oscar Porcelli, began buying up parcels around Manhattan in the early ’70s and turning them into Gaseteria gas stations.

Once up on a time, this property was home to Brooklyn’s oldest ice skating rink, the Brooklyn Ice Palace. The Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklynology blog has a great post on the history of the building, which opened as an ice rink in 1917 with 17,000 square feet of ice. During World War I, the state ordered the rink closed to save on materials that were used in creating artificial ice, like ammonia. Subsequently, it was transformed into a well-cooled movie palace, but that project fell into bankruptcy. Eventually, it was torn down and renovated into a spacious, state of the art ice rink, which prospered until 1955. The building eventually re-opened as a scenery design studio, which you can see in the 1970s tax photo after the jump.


Brooklyn entreprenuer Andrew Tarlow is sitting down for an interview with former New York Times “The Ethicist” columnist and broadcaster Randy Cohen tomorrow at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Cohen will interview Tarlow about a person, place and thing that have been meaningful to him for Cohen’s public radio show Person Place Thing.

Tarlow, pictured at right, helped pioneer locavore dining in Brooklyn with his Williamsburg restaurants Diner and Marlow and Sons and butcher shop Marlow and Daughters; he recently opened the Wythe Hotel and its restaurant, Reynard, and publishes quarterly magazine Diner Journal.

The event is free for BHS members and costs $5 for everyone else, and tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite. It takes place tomorrow from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Photos via Brooklyn Historical Society


Local photographer Randy Duchaine will sit down with several Brooklyn food business owners featured in his photography series, “Created in Brooklyn,” at the Brooklyn Public Library on Wednesday. Gia Gasullo of Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, Emily and Elizabeth Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens will speak about how their businesses began and the challenges they’ve faced.

The talk will take place on Wednesday at 6:30 pm in the Information Commons Lab at the Central Library on Grand Army Plaza.

Photo via Four & Twenty Blackbirds


The owner of a Bed Stuy lounge plans to spice up the desolate area around the Manhattan Bridge in downtown Brooklyn by opening a restaurant that serves West African, Trinidadian and American food. After a decade of running Amarachi on Franklin Avenue, Joseph Adewumi wants to bring that Bed Stuy feel to an eatery called Amarachi Prime, in the ground floor space at 189 Bridge Street.

The 2,500-square-foot restaurant will serve typical American fare like pancakes, waffles, burgers and salmon, as well as Caribbean staples like oxtail stew. Adewumi hopes to open by July 4 and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner into the wee hours. (He plans to stay open until 4 am Fridays and Saturdays.) Community Board 2 approved his application for a full liquor license  last week. GMAP


Ex-financier Kwhame Gittens opened his new American bistro, Docklands, last Tuesday on Franklin Avenue between Lincoln and St. Johns in Crown Heights. When we last wrote about Docklands, its owners thought they were close to opening back in September. Now that they have all their permits in order, chefs from Arcadia and Le Cirque are serving up homey dishes like lobster mac and cheese, prawn plantains and sweet and spicy chicken wings.

The menu is mostly small dishes at the moment, but Gittens says they’ll add bigger plates with pork belly, three more types of fish, and beef. The restaurant will be open Wednesday to Sunday for a few weeks. Once they’ve finished staffing up, they’ll be open seven days a week and serve brunch. The little eatery also offers free oysters during Happy Hour.

New-American Bistro Opening Soon on Franklin [Brownstoner] GMAP


A restaurant named Aperture is in the works to replace Luna Rossa at 552 Court Street in Carroll Gardens. While the two restaurants are totally unrelated, the new one, like the old one, will also be an Italian restaurant serving pizza. Other items will include pasta, fresh seafood, soups and salads — reasonably priced and filling Italian peasant food,  owner Alfred Varricchio told us.

The space will seat 30 people inside and 40 in the backyard. After renovations finish, the restaurant will have a “funky” black and white theme, he said. Community Board Six already approved a full liquor license for Aperture on Monday, and Varricchio is ready to sign the lease.

The spot will be open from 11 am to midnight Monday through Saturday and from noon to 10 pm on Sundays. Varricchio said he hopes to open by June. Luna Rossa closed last fall, according to Yelp. GMAP


The Classon Social Club opened its doors last Friday on the corner of St. Johns and Classon, offering live blues and jazz and classic American comfort food. The bar and restaurant serves up homey dishes like mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, shrimp and polenta and sorghum glazed porchetta.

The western Crown Heights joint has a small stage outfitted with a drum kit and piano, and there are several blues, tango and jazz acts lined up for later this month. Check out the full food and alcohol menu here. The Classon Social Club is located at 807 Classon Avenue and open from 5 pm to midnight every day except Sunday.

Click through to the jump to see an interior photo. GMAP


The new Hill Country Barbecue Market celebrated its grand opening at 345 Adams Street Tuesday with a party. A reader sent us a photo of the festivities, which you can see after the jump. The sit-down restaurant opened a few weeks ago and serves Texas-style smoked meats, prime rib, cornbread, banana pudding and PB&J cupcakes. The 11,000-square-foot restaurant also has a 130-seat music venue where roots, Americana and alt-country acts can perform.

The restaurant’s fried-chicken-serving sister and takeout joint Hill Country Chicken opened at the same address in late December. Fried chicken, a variety of pies, and sides like cheesy fried mashed potatoes are all on the menu. Shake Shack is across the street.

Huge BBQ Joint Coming to 345 Adams Street [Brownstoner] GMAP