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Friday
Feb132015

Piccola Uva Moves into Tutta Pasta Space, Taqueria Las Rosas Grill Replacing It

Italian restaurant Tutta Pasta was put on the market last month, and the space has been snatched up by the same owner. There's some shuffling afoot on Seventh between First and Garfield; wine bar/ pizzeria Piccola Uva has moved across the street into the Tutta Pasta space, and a new taqueria called Las Rosas Grill will be moving into the former Piccola Uva space.

The owner of Tutta Pasta, Martino Pisani, opened Piccola Uva in November 2012 at 161 Seventh Avenue, serving pizza, pasta, and other Italian dishes, and he told me that while he quietly up and moved across the street earlier this week, some renovations are in store for the coming weeks.

As for the former Piccola Uva space, real estate agent Jeffrey Kessler passed along the tip that it has been leased to the owners of long-running neighborhood favorite Las Rosas Bakery, a 24-hour Sunset Park institution that specializes in tortas, tacos, tamales, pupusas, and baked goods like tres leches cake. Because of the small size and the name change to Las Rosas Grill we can assume that the bakery element will probably not be following them to Park Slope, but by the looks of it, this is going to be a welcome (and somewhat surprising) addition to the neighborhood.

An old-school lunch counter that's been in business for decades (it used to go by the name Lisette's), Las Rosas has a loyal following and is about as classic as it gets. We can only assume that many of the same menu items will be on offer here, adding some much-needed variety to a neighborhood whose only solid traditional taqueria is the Tacos Morelos truck on Union Street.

Bottom photo via Yelp

Tuesday
Feb032015

Buttermilk Bakeshop Opening New Location in Trois Pommes Space on Fifth

One bakery moves out, another bakery moves in. Nearly a year since Trois Pommes Patisserie moved out of its storefront at 260 Fifth Avenue (between Garfield and Carroll), there's some exciting news to report: A second, larger location of the incredibly popular Buttermilk Bakeshop, which opened nearly exactly a year ago on Seventh Avenue near Ninth Street, is coming to the space.

Run by pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse, Buttermilk specializes in cakes, pies, cupcakes, cookies, breakfast pastries, ice cream, and killer chocolate croissant bread pudding, all made fresh throughout the day. The original shop is only 300 square feet, so this 850 square foot space will be much roomier.

According to Rosenhouse, the new location will "have all the favorites from the Seventh Avenue shop, along with a variety of cakes available for pickup," and "the center of the bakery will be reserved for on-site baking classes," which will be taught often. There will still be room for a handful of tables and chairs.

If all goes to plan, the bakery should be open by early March at the latest.

Thursday
Jan292015

Brooklyn Lyceum Turning into — What Else? — Luxury Condos

Say farewell to the Brooklyn Lyceum as a public space. Crain's is reporting that the landmarked building on Fourth Avenue will be turned into two or three luxury condo units, with retail space on the ground floor. A 12-story building that will hold about 70 rental units will be constructed on the vacant lot next door.

The building, which has been a home for lots of local theatre and emerging artists in recent years, was auctioned off back in October after going info foreclosure, and real estate investment firm Greystone snatched it up for $7.6 million, along with the lot next door for an additional $13.5 million.

The building's facade is slated to be restored, albeit with retail access on the ground floor (CVS, anyone?), a process that can take some time because the Landmarks Preservation Commission will be involved, according to DNAinfo. If all goes to plan, the new apartments will be ready for their wealthy renters by early 2017.

Thursday
Jan222015

Open for Business: Miti Miti Taperia, 138 Fifth Avenue

The owners of the popular Bogota Latin Bistro have quietly opened their latest venture, Miti Miti Taperia, on Fifth Avenue between Butler and Douglass, in the space last occupied by bar Voodoo Lounge.

The cool and colorful front room is dominated by an undulating bar on one side and a funky mural on the other, and the back dining room has a fair amount of seating, with mismatched chandeliers, exposed brick, and a turquoise banquette. It's definitely a funky space, and when it gets dark out the magenta lights come on.

There's a nice assortment of cocktails ranging from $11-13, sangria, and a handful of beer, cider, and wine.

Onto the food. The opening menu is still limited (smart while the kitchen is still getting up to speed), and is devoted to small plates intended to be shared. There's a predominantly Spanish influence, but there are also some Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired options. Bar snacks include pan con tomate, deviled eggs with bacon, guacamole, shishito peppers, and frito mixto; tapas options include tortilla Espanola, garlic chorizo, lamb meatballs, and Korean pork belly tacos; there's a small selection of cheese and charcuterie; as well as a few salads and desserts. Bar snacks average about $6, tapas ranges from $5-16. "Paellas, seafood, lamb, rabbit, steaks, and vegetables" are all on their way, according to the website.

If time has told us one thing, it's that the Bogota team knows what they're doing; that place is hopping just about every night. While the design of Miti Miti channels some of that spirit, it's a much smaller space with a different energy, but something tells me that this "taperia" should have no trouble drawing a similar crowd.

Miti Miti Taperia, 138 5th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217. Phone: 718-230-3760

Photos via Facebook.

Friday
Jan162015

Elberta Restaurant & Bar Seized by Taxman

Elberta, the New American restaurant on Flatbush Avenue opposite Seventh that opened in July 2012, was seized by the state for nonpayment of taxes last night. The restaurant was run by the same owners as previous occupants Heights Coffee and the short-lived Velvet Peach Cafe, the husband-and-wife duo of Erica Phillips and Irwin Caesar.

The restaurant had loyal clientele, but may have overextended itself; it expanded into the adjacent space last year as a private party room but closed that down after a "grand closing party" on New Year's Eve.