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Monday
Jun172013

Casa Ventura, Loli's Taqueria on The Market

It's been a sad state of affairs for years on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Third Street, as one restaurant after another has tried to give it a go and failed. The most recent occupant of the space, Casa Ventura, opened with much hoopla and generally good reviews a little over a year ago, and even though it was run by well-intentioned locals, it's been closed more often than not lately, and has been placed on the market for a monthly rent of $9,500 (the listing actually uses photos that I took during their opening party and included in the article linked to above). It also mentions that it's back on the market after a previous deal fell through.

Several of Casa Ventura's owners opened Loli's Taqueria just about a month ago, and that space is already on the market as well. Even though it was generally well-liked and inexpensive,  the off-the-main-drag location of Sixth Avenue and 7th Street didn't do it any favors, and it's also only been open very sporadically lately. It's on the market for a rent of about $4,000 per month.

While there's no such thing as a "cursed" space, it's certainly been incredibly challenging to find a winner for either of these two storefronts.

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Reader Comments (57)

While not on a par with chains and expansions, another way our neighborhood becomes homogenized is by expansion of current business. Of course, that occurs because you will always only find a few good businesspeople in a pool of otherwise well-meaning people.

You think that corner is cursed? Picture that corner in the hands of an expanded Ample Hills. Picture that corner in Talde's hands. Picture that corner in the hands of the Bogota guys.

That corner didn't do that business in. Food that, while not bad, wasn't any better than "OK," did.

As for 6th, again put that in some better hands and see what happens.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

This place was opened by the general manager of Barrio who's a really nice guy but whose ideas like Barrios became stale way to quickly. Both places tried to bank off their bars way too much and the food suffered. I agree with Jay on this one -this is a pirme space just asking for the right restauranteur.

With a rent like this one you need to know what youre doing, period. No training wheels here. Its also the problem with putting so much emphasis on locally owned when the talent pool is limited-cooking a nd running a restaurant are two very different things.

That place on sixth however, that place has been difficult for ever. Most places on sixth have had difficulty for that matter, consider the recent demise of Sweetwolfs farther south. Without a lot of foot traffic you need a concept that will keep the neighborhood folks regularly coming back. like Red Horse cafe or Park Slope Ale House.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Bring back Caravel!

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterG Monster

Casa Ventura was the kind of restaurant that should have succeeded. It was proudly not a chain and served a unique version of Latin food influenced by the chef's heritage. Sounds like a natural for Park Slope, no? It has a pleasant outdoor space that was more often than not full of diners--adults and families. Its failure should be a lesson for other aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs: your balance sheet is your destiny. $9.5K a month in rent+salaries+supplies+miscellaneous expenses=thousands of Margaritas. It doesn't always add up.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarty Markowitz

Debi Mazar and husband should consider this space.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersterling

I never quite understood why they would open loli, when casa was not doing well either. It doesn't make much sense. They didn't have enough capital to keep them afloat while building their customer base. Poor financial planning.

The casa ventura space actually makes a lot of sense for Mazar and husband. Fornino was just too large of space for a new restaurateur.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternormality

Don't the owners of these restaurants also own Norman and Jules that kids store? Always thought it was odd that the store is so lovely but case v is so mediocre. I knew when they ripped up all the plants around the outdoor space that they had no clue what they were doing.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersterling

Loli's also suffered from an utter lack of publicity. I had no idea it had even opened until I drove by one day. I see they have a Facebook page, but they could have done so much more to get out the word, especially given their 6th Ave location.

It's funny bc a tacqueria is exactly the kind of place that could succeed on 6th Ave. it's the kind of business that we don't have a lot of and that people would be willing to leave 5th or 7th avenues for. It should have been a slam dunk. Hell, I travel down to 4th Ave to go to Oaxaca tacqueria and Loli's is a looooooot closer to me.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjack

That corner actually needs something safe like a starbucks or bank, sad to say.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin

But I'm just kidding. I actually think a GOOD tacqueria would do great in this location.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin

jack is correct. Williamsburg has become the hottest most trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn not because all the restaurants and bars are great but because they do a SUPERB job at PR. Park Slope business owners need to learn a thing or two about publicizing their establishments and putting their name out there on the Internet in places like curbed, eater, seriouseats, gothamist, brownstoner, and the neighborhood blogs. Use these to your advantage because there is no reason whatsoever that loli's should be a failure so soon. People know about lot 2 on 6th ave because they use social media, they publicize themselves and they have the food to back it up.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersterling

Norman and Jules is owned by a husband and wife and they are not affiliated with Casa Ventura.

That corner on 3rd and 7th has been a revolving door for quite a while. I actually think it would make a great spot for a taqueria, with seating similar to Fette Sau.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSlopeLifer

Bring back Ben's of Soho pizzeria!

Mmmm.... not a day goes by that I don't miss the fresh tomato, onion and garlic Sicilian slices I used to buy out of the window...

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBK Phil

We have reached restaurant saturation point. The really great places are packed every night. The really good places are surviving. More pizza? Naah. More burritos and tacos? Naah.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Krugman

My opinion on the Loli thing....

My problem with its predecessor, Lucky Lou's, was that it seemed like a confused space. Part hamburger sports bar, part Mexican food restaurant.

I was hopeful that their organic/family/taco idea might be more purposeful. Yet, they also renovated and made the space look more generic and cheap.

I just think the space needs good atmosphere and a clear vision for what it wants to be.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbirdmechanical

I hope Le Pain Quotidien opens its second park slope location here ASAP.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge W Obama

I passed Loli on the way to the Y - if I didn't go to the Y I wouldn't know it existed...but it seemed to have opened and then they had a sign out front that they woudl re-open. I also noticed that they had a menu outside but it didn't list prices - something I like to see before I try a restauarant

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeanuts

"Casa Ventura was the kind of restaurant that should have succeeded. It was proudly not a chain and served a unique version of Latin food influenced by the chef's heritage."

Which is being done a million times better on 5th ave between St. John's and Berkeley, and packs people in on weeknights, which barely any restaurants in this neighborhood do.

Look how many other pan-latin spots have failed before, since, and will fail after, Bogota.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Ample Hills would kill it in that location with the outdoor seating.

So would a clam shack or a seafood shack type place with GOOD food.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

1 word- Chipotle.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Shlopin' Mom

Interesting that Loli's is already on the market. I live nearby and see people in there all the time. For sure there are more people in there than there ever were at Kozee or Lucky Lou's, and both of those places lasted at least a few months. There must be something else going on with the owners, or maybe the rent is too high?

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNever Satisfied

Would not mind a Chipotle in PS 1 bit.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Chipotle is an awful, awful chain. Tasteless food covered in sour cream and cheese. Keep them away from my neighborhood.

Ample Hills desperate needs a second space as well. Lines are routinely a half hour of more most times of day. That would be a GREAT fit.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I've honestly never heard of Ample Hills. Sounds like an adult movie actress but I imagine they're good if we need one in the upcoming chipotle/starbucks space.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThom Unibrow

I must second the Ample Hills recommendation. I almost feel like a missionary, doing God's ice cream work in making such a recommendation. We'd be bringing absolute heaven to, OK, maybe not the South Slope itself, but close enough that they'd just join hands, share a pair of shoes amongst, like, twelve of them, and a pilgrimage and lordy, or lordy, they'd be saved.

June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSLOPE WARZ

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