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Business of the Week: Gear to Go Outfitters, 217 Garfield Place

This article originally appeared on Patch.

If you're planning to head out of the city for a hike anytime soon, there's one particular neighborhood storefront you'll need to know about: Gear to Go Outfitters, on Garfield Place just east of Seventh Avenue.

The shop is a well-curated boutique that sells the highest quality hiking and camping gear, but it's not just a store—it's an experience.

"I've set out to create a real community gathering place for everything camping-related," said owner Kevin Rosenberg, who was formerly a Navy pilot. "We've got a great selection of goods, but we do a lot more than just sell the gear."

Owner Kevin Rosenberg

To understand Gear to Go, we'll need to start at the beginning.

"Kevin hiked 1300 miles of the Appalachian Trail!," said Asa Merritt, an avid hiker who's one of Kevin's employees. "Hiking is his life, and he loves being able to share that with the neighborhood."

Rosenberg started an online store a few years ago, and it quickly became a major resource for everything outdoor-related. He set up a table on Seventh Avenue near Carroll Street around that time, selling some of the less cumbersome equipment. He also began leading expeditions into the wilderness with a team of highly-trained guides.

This past April, he was finally able to realize his dream and open the store.

"I replied to a Craigslist ad about two and a half years ago asking for hiking guides, but I wasn't expecting to be put through such extensive training," remarked Merritt. "We're the only outdoor store in the city that licenses our guides."

Along with working in the store, most of Gear to Go's employees also lead weekly hiking trips, and that's why they needed to be thoroughly trained. They took water safety courses, a Red Cross training program, and arduous New York State Guide Exams.

It's clear that Kevin and his employees really care about what they do, and are looking to deliver much more than just merchandise. Along with the weekly expeditions, they offer classes in the store's basement, and are planning backpacking trips later this year to Arizona and Iceland.

"You can go to lots of stores and find every hiking and camping item imaginable, but that's not what we do here," said Merritt. "We don't sell anything that sucks. We carry what we believe in."

Gear to Go Outfitters, 217 Garfield Place Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-399-7848.


The Park Slope Week in Review: 6/13/11 - 6/17/11

On Monday word got around that Sweetwolf's, the intriguing new restaurant coming to Sixth Avenue and 12th Street, is accepting all suggestions for menu items through their Facebook page. If your dish is chosen you get invited to the soft open and get to help tweak the recipe. Also, Chickadee Chick, the chicken-centric restaurant on Seventh, shut down.

On Tuesday I reported that Cobble Grill II opened on the corner of Sixth and 14th, where Balaka, the Indian Restaurant, had been before. Same owner, new strategy, but man, what a depressing space. Food is salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

Wednesday brought news that Grand Army Plaza's food truck festival would be now happening once a month, and some local business owners are pissed that they'll be losing business to the interlopers. I also tracked down some fresh-from-the-coconut coconut water, at the little fruit stand on Fifth and 14th.

On Thursday Mango/Remixed Thai Brasserie, the restaurant on Seventh in the North Slope that shut down last week, magically re-opened. Seventh Avenue is also getting a whole bunch of new bike racks.

On Friday I posted an early review of Faros, the new Greek restaurant opening next week on Seventh near Union, along with a full menu, and it was authentic and really impressive. They're in soft open mode for now, and (shh) all the food is free until they open for good. I also took a look at Prime Six's nearly-completed facade, and noticed that a new women's vintage clothing store, Pony, has opened on northern Fifth Avenue. 


Prime Six Facade Almost Finished

Say what you will about the motivations behind sports lounge/steakhouse/club/whatever Prime Six, which will be opening soon in the former Royal Video space on Sixth and Flatbush, but it looks like they've installed a pretty classy facade. The final windows were installed over the past week, and we're now beginning to get an idea of what the finished product will look like.

Those windows will let in a lot of light, and the rest of the exterior facade will be wooden. Still waiting on seeing what the plywood up above will give way to.


Open for Business: Pony, 69 Fifth Avenue

One more vintage shop thas opened up on northern Fifth Avenue. This one, called Pony, opened earlier this week in the space last occupied by Indian-inspired clothing store Ashaveza, between St. Marks and Prospect.

According to the store's signage, it will specialize in "cute, freshly laundered second-hand women's clothing." Most of the merchandise appears to be of the relatively high-end variety: nice blouses, knitwear, dresses and eveningwear.

Pony, 69 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-622-7669.




Friday Foodporn: Faros, Now In Soft Open Mode


Faros, the long-in-the-making Greek restaurant on Seventh Avenue between Union and Berkeley, has soft opened. Until they open for good (most likely next Wednesday or Thursday) a limited menu will be available free of charge. After dropping by last night, I'd seriously recommend taking advantage of the offer.

The service was surprisingly on-point for a soft open (refilling water glasses, changing silverware in-between courses), and owner Peter Livanos (who also owns several buildings in the neighborhood) and the manager kept close tabs on the proceedings but were never overbearing. The bi-level space is well-designed, and there's a nice bar in the back that is sure to stay busy once the liquor license comes through.

But on to the food. I had the spanakopita, pork souvlaki, and baklava, and was seriously impressed. The spanakopita was light and flaky, the souvlaki was tender, juicy, and well-seasoned, and the baklava was on-point. Livanos told me that his surprisingly authentic menu was designed by his two chefs, who he flew over from Greece for the job. "Around here, there's lots of quantity and not much quality," he told me. "Here, we only use the highest-quality ingredients and let the food speak for itself."

The full menu is below, and is full of pleasant surprises. The appetizer list is quite lengthy, and can probably be enjoyed like tapas (grilled halloumi cheese, charcoal grilled octopus, and homemade pork sausage look like standouts). There are many seafood options, including grilled whole Lavraki and Orata, and entrees include the classics like chicken souvlaki, mousaka, and pastichio as well as some intriguing dishes like braised lamb casserole. There's also a smattering of vegeterian options and side dishes.

If what I experienced last night is any indication of things to come, I think we might have a winner on our hands.

Here's the full menu (a limited version is currently available):