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Sponsored Post: Watch the Jets Game at Da Nonna Rosa Sunday

Still looking for a bar to watch the Jets/ Steelers Playoff game on Sunday at without breaking the bank? Head on over to brand-new Da Nonna Rosa, at 140 Seventh Avenue between Garfield and Carroll. They're opening up their second floor tap room, seen below, and will offer two dollar bottles of Bud and Bud Light. See you there!


Friday Foodporn: Willies Dawgs, Closing Sunday

When I found out that four year old Willie's Dawgs, the small hot dog place on Fifth Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, had closed down, it was a disappointment to know that I wouldn't have a chance to try some of the crazier items on their menu. When I found out that they were in fact staying open until this Sunday, though, a Friday Foodporn redux was in order. 

Owner Tom Anderson was more than happy to point me towards the Pickles Jalan dog, which is topped with peanut sauce, Indonesian pickled vegetables, and jalapenos, and served on a homemade challah roll (all the bread is made in-house, in varieties including rye and multi-grain).

If Willie's is renowned for one item, however, it has to be the Phoney Baloney Dog, which is essentially a carrot, boiled, marinated in hot dog spices, and finished on the flat top. I'd heard good things about it, and it was surprisingly delicious, even topped with just a little mustard.

As for Tom? "I'm not soured on the business," he told me. "I might open up someplace else in a while. I've lived in Park Slope for 30 years so I'm not going anywhere. It was just too expensive to stay in this spot." And if he had to do it all over again? "I wouldn't bake my own bread. It was way too labor intensive."

Thanks for everything, Willie's Dawgs. Hope to see you again soon. 


Closed for Business: Hog Mountain, 192 Fifth Avenue

As reported a couple weeks ago, Hog Mountain, the southern-inspired general store for men on Fifth between Union and Sackett, closed for good yesterday. 

Owner Jess Draper, an Alabama native and former actor, found that competition from the internet was just too much: some people would actually go there to try on clothes and then buy the product for cheaper online. It certainly had a unique, rugged "mountain man" vibe, though.


79 Seventh Avenue Coming Along

The future home of Petco's natural and organic offshoot, Unleashed, on Seventh between Union and Berkeley, now has walls and a roof. This is the site that was the original home of Zuzu's Petals and Olive Vine before a fire left it vacant for many years. Here's the finished product's design, thanks to Brownstoner:


Know Your Bartender: Maria Bova, Old Carriage Inn

Seventh Avenue used to be loaded with bars. Most were of the divey variety, similar to what you might find at O'Connor's. A place to drop in, get a cheap Bud or a shot, and maybe chitchat with the older local regulars or the bartender and eat some pretzels. One of the last bars like this on Seventh, Snooky's, closed in 2007 and was replaced with the ill-fated Elementi and then the ill-fated Mack's 140 (now it's Da Nonna Rosa). 

The lone survivor of the Golden Age of Seventh Avenue Dive Bars? The Old Carriage Inn, holding down the Eighth Street corner since 1982, when the Waggleman family bought the space and opened up a chophouse, serving steaks, seafood, and the like. They took out the kitchen in 1990 and replaced it with a small back room with some couches and a pool table. Some bar snacks are still on offer, but are best enjoyed after several drinks, if you know what I mean. Dorothy Waggleman, the owners' daughter, took over a few years ago after the death of her mother. 

The bar today retains a lot of that old school (read: stroller-free) Brooklyn charm, and doesn't look like it's changed at all in years. There's a bunch of (decidedly non-flatscreen) TVs for sports (one for every table in the main bar area), and Saturday night karaoke gets pretty rowdy, if you're into that sort of thing. Loyal regulars file in daily and are greeted like old friends by the other patrons, and the super-friendly bartenders never need to be reminded of their drink of choice. First-timers are treated with the same level of respect. Classic Rock on the radio and a couple pool tables round out the experience, and a glass-enclosed side seating area (above) is a nice touch. Snarky Gravesend native Maria Bova can be found behind the bar Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 12-7.

HPS: How long have you been bartending here for?

Maria: Five and a half years.

HPS: What's your favorite thing about this bar?

Maria: My favorite thing about this bar, I'd say, has to be the customers. They're old-school people, they were born here, they live here. My favorite customer, his name is Bill Harris. He was once a fighter pilot in World War II, and he comes in and talks to me for hours and hours and hours. He drinks Budweiser, he's badass. The people here have been through it all. They lived here when the neighborhood wasn't what it is now. They're the last of the Mohicans.

HPS: Can you talk a little about the Happy Hour?

Maria: Happy Hour is from 4-7. You get $3.50 bottles and $4 drafts. 

HPS: What's the strangest drink order that you've ever received here?

Maria: This is really a "Gimme a Bud and a shot of Jameson" type of place, so maybe an apple martini. And that's when I ask people for their ID. Any time anyone orders anything with the word "apple" or "sour" in it, that's when I ask for ID.

HPS: Are there any cocktails that you make that you pride yourself on?

Maria: Well I usually do a Mystery Shot, which is when I basically take anything I can find in the well that's not moving and put it all together and sell it for $4.50. Sometimes if I'm working on a football Sunday, if the Jets are playing I'll make a green shot.

HPS: What drink is ordered the most frequently?

Maria: Budweiser. And Jameson. 

HPS: Are there any bottles that you've never poured from?

Maria: Yes! It is called Dry Sack. It's sherry. I think when the bar opened in 1983 it was still down here. It's probably 400 proof by now!

HPS: If you weren't tending bar, what other professions would you be interested in?

Maria: Teaching. I don't know, I love people. Anything to help people. I'm like a social worker, only I make more money. I love it here, though. It's my second dysfunctional family. I'm lucky.

Old Carriage Inn, 312 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-788-7747.