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Tuesday
Dec172013

Closed for Business: Red Horse Cafe, 497 6th Avenue

Red Horse Cafe, the charming coffee shop on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 12th Street, closed down over the weekend, One More Folded Sunset noticed. The owners, Carolina and Brent Whitson, left a note thanking customers for seven years of patronage, noting that "the horse has finally been set free."

No reason for the closure was given, but the out-of-the-way location was tricky from the get-go. For those in the know, however, it was one of the neighborhood's best respites, serving coffee from Gowanus' Crop to Cup, tea from Harney & Sons, Chilean baked goods from San Antonio in Queens, and pastries from Baked in Red Hook. The low-key space was decorated with modern art and furnished with comfortable couches, and there was plenty of room to sit with a laptop and lots of natural light. They also hosted events at night, including musical performances, comedy, and poetry readings.

There aren't actually that many straight-ahead neighborhood cafes left in the area, where those who work from home can set up shop in an uncramped space and not feel rushed as they do their work with a coffee and a pastry. Unfortunately, that setup doesn't lend itself much to a dinner crowd, which is the real moneymaker.

Photo via nycgo.com

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Reader Comments (23)

I'm surprised by this. This was one of my favorite places, even if I didn't probably frequent it enough. Partially because, there were times I attempted to go there when I couldn't even find a place to sit.

Which always lead me to believe they were doing fine.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbirdmechanical

I felt this place was pretty charming. I only went a few times even though I lived close by on 7th, but it was a bit hard to remember where exactly it was and wasn't really on my way to anywhere. Too bad, it was unique and cute, but (for me) the location kinda sucked.

I hope they do something new that's successful. Sad to see another good place close. Probably now it'll be another one of those sketchy massage places.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

That is terrible. This place was not only comfortable, but it had the rare attribute of a consistently great staff.
Saddened.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBub

That is really sad news. I also did take-out a lot because I could never find a place to sit in the sea of Macs. I'm wondering if many others never came in because of lack of seating. I'm sure Red Horse saw its fair share of customers who purchased one drink and camped out all day.

I hope something decent takes the space. This neighborhood needs a really good Thai restaurant. There's enough happy ending massage parlors here.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTortilla

BTW, the new Gorilla coffee opened up.

Red Horse is a product of the same thing that was discussed regarding the bakeries in South Slope. There are just so many coffee shops (and nice ones) in this part of the Slope that it's difficult to compete. I fear the same might be true of that new bakery opening where Tasti d lite was.

There are so many new things opening up though....there's the new Satou's opening on Flatbush Avenue, Red Mango is open on Flatbush, a new Pharmacy opening on Sackett/4th Avenue, something next to Chocolate Room, just tons of stuff. It seems like every available space is being rented lately.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

Tortilla,

We have a great Thai restaurant. Olieng on 7th Avenue near Lincoln Place. Try it. Sky Ice is also excellent. Don't bother with Song or Spice or Beet 2 or any of the rest they are horrible.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

Forget Thai -what we need is a great Burmese restaurant.

Re: Redhorse De Ballsio killed Redhorse no question. The soon to be mayor lives right around the corner from it but proudly declares in numerous free publicty pieces for them that he gets his coffee at Purity 2!!

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Actually I think a great big dim sum place could kill it in Park Slope.

Or a really excellent non bahn mi type Vietnamese place with tons of Pho and other treats. That place Ha Noi Kitchen is awful so I don't count that.

I'd also welcome a Xian Famous Foods.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

What about some Mexican places? Never thought I would miss Uncle Mo's but I do.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBalki

Huh? Uncle Mo's was garbage food.

We have terrific Mexican in Park Slope. Fonda for high end, Lopez Boulangerie for best everything, Oaxaca for decent food, Haab for excellent Mexican and best of all the Tacos Moreles truck which parks 6 days a week on Union and 5th. Don't bother with Rachel's it's also garbage.

Maya on Vanderbilt is also decent.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

Sterling, I thought Sky Ice was kind of sweet. But it was heads and shoulders above Beet, Song and those places. I'll give Olieng a try. Thanks.

Love Burmese cuisine but I don't think it has enough mainstream appeal yet to survive in Park Slope. I would welcome a good non banh mi Vietnamese restaurant here (and Ha Noi doesn't count). Not sure if dim sum or Xian Famous Foods would survive here even though I would love to have one. My perception is that there are too many "safe" eaters in this neighborhood judging on the numerous Italian restaurants. If another Italian restaurant opens in the Red Horse space I'm gonna scream.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTortilla

@tortilla

Disagree about Burmese - there are several Burmese rests in SF and they kill

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Jbob, I'm familiar with the Burmese restaurant scene in SF. They're so much better than what you can find here and I would love to have something like Burma Superstar. But Park Slope is slowly turning into the Marina. Burmese restaurants will have a better chance of succeeding in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, East Village, LES and in areas with a high concentration of Burmese like Elmhurst. But not in Park Slope where most people feel that Song serves good Thai food.

I do think there are plenty of adventurous eaters in this neighborhood but not in the numbers to sustain a business where profit margins are razor thin. You need to sell a lot of tea leaf salads to make rent. There is an element of "safer choices" a restaurant needs to provide to survive in Park Slope. For example, Zabb Elee probably would not last too long here because they don't have the pad thai and chicken red curry many people are looking for. I don't think that Burmese cuisine has the mainstream following that Thai or Mexican restaurants have now. I hope that will change in the future. Sushi used to be considered "exotic". Now you can find sushi in so many places.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTortilla

Tortilla, I agree with you, but Park Slope does have Ghenet which was rated the best Ethiopian restaurant in NYC this year. Love that place, always a nice crowd.

I think you've nailed Park Slope pretty well, although I think it's probably a lot more like Glen Park or Bernal Heights than the Marina. Too many old hippies here for it to be the Marina and we have an excellent cafe scene here which is totally lacking in the Marina. I'd say Murray Hill is closest to The Marina.

Park Slope is really a meat and potatoes kind of neighborhood or maybe veggie meat and potatoes for some.

Things we don't need more of : pizza, burgers, sushi, italian.
Things we need more of: Indonesian, Burmese, Vietnamese, GREAT Indian, Dim Sum and Schezuan.

I went to Song once and heard someone say the food was too spicy. If you think anything at Song is spicy (or edible) you would think a baked potato is spicy.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

And yes, that was the first and last time I ever went to Song.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

You make a good point about Ghenet. I've only been to the Manhattan location but liked it a lot. I keep forgetting that it's here.

Agree with your lists. Tofu on 7th is the best Sichuan restaurant in the neighborhood. There are better ones in NYC but I am happy that Tofu on 7th is here. I also wouldn't mind a more upscale Middle Eastern restaurant like Tanoreen here as well. Spanish too.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTortilla

Tanoreen would be fantastic.

BUT do not bypass our Istanbul Park on 7th Avenue. It may not look like much, but the food is truly very good. I know plenty of Turkish people who swear by it. It's one of our once a week places. Of course a true Middle Eastern place like Tanoreen would be great. I've spoken with them about their interest in opening a location in Park Slope. I think it would print money. I was hoping they'd take the spot that just became Grand Central Oyster Bar formerly Fornino. Can you imagine? It was the perfect spot.

Go support Ghenet! I think the one in Manhattan has closed now, no?

And do try Olieng and tell us what you think. It's no Ayada, but it's about as good as we're going to get around here.

And yes, I forget about Tofu on 7th. Their Sichuan menu is quite good, we have very similar taste it seems.

December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

@Tortilla and Sterling. PS is most definitely not the Marina, its more like Berkeley (as it is today not the 60s nostalgia).

If something is done well it will succeed in PS . No one could believe another sushi place was opening when Katsuei opened but it is exceptional and stood out. The same thing would happen with Burmese. Theres like a half dozen of them in SF and they ALL do well. Im just talking about one.

Also if you're in SF try Mandalay, I think its better and as a bonus it didn't have a massive e coli outbreak recently like Burma superstar did

December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Why in God's name are we comparing Park Slope to SF? The old establishments that were here are being chased out by you Bougie stroller-wielding out of staters!!.. Stop whining about a new restraurant and build one if you all know so much.. sheesh.. !

December 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklyn born and raised

@Brooklyn

Actually if you read the latest economic data they are becoming very similar.

December 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

I liked the coffee there, but I always thought the baked goods were inconsistent in that it was a hodgepodge that you weren't sure what would be on offer any given day (at least in the morning, around 9, when I was passing by). It became the place I would go to if I just wanted coffee and didn't want to be tempted into getting something else--for that I'd go a couple blocks further to Colson Patisserie.

I can't fault the location because there are relatively successful restaurants nearby (Bar Toto, Piccoli, though I have no idea how Soigne stays open, as they seem to be closed half the week). I think it was that they mostly sold just coffee/not enough additional stuff, and had a too-high proportion of Laptop Parkers.

December 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjennitrixie

re: needed new restaurants

the one thing that we absolutely do not have in PS (or BK in general) is a solid vegan restaurant. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am a die hard carnivore, but good vegan food is like nothing you have ever had and it is a shame that we do not have anything in this category.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterslopestar

Yes we do. We have one of the best vegan restaurants in the city here. Sun in Bloom on Bergen street.

Also, the V spot although not nearly as superb as Sun in Bloom.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSterling

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