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Tuesday
Mar042014

Cycle Bar, Rivet Close up Shop

Two local businesses have shut down: Cycle Bar, the cycling studio that opened on 5th between First and Garfield in late 2010, and Rivet, the jeans-oriented clothing store that opened in August 2011 on Seventh between Union and President.

Cycle Bar, like uber-trendy Soul Cycle and Flywheel, held daily classes where customers could participate in group rides accompanied by dim lights and music. The landlord also owns the spaces that are currently home to Le Pain Quotidien and Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Rivet was run by the same owners as the also-shuttered Slope Jeans, and there's currently one other shop in operation, in Carroll Gardens. Many thanks to a tipster for letting me know that the whole shop has been emptied out.

Monday
Mar032014

Calexico Launches Brunch on 5th Avenue


Calexico finally opened on 5th Avenue between First and Garfield last weekend after a nearly two-year buildout, and it's hard to deny that it looks great. The fourth brick-and-mortar outpost of the local mini-chain, which got its start serving Cal-Mex specialties like burritos, tacos, and rolled quesadillas from street carts, is stylishly minimalist, with a small waiting area/ take out counter/ juice bar inside the front door, with the main dining room to the left. There's a nice-looking bar taking up one side of the dining room (which has been tragically underused so far, as the beer and liquor license has yet to be approved), and a few booths up against the front windows. The rest of the room is dim and comfortable, with brick walls and exposed wood beams, and a booth for larger parties in the back.


The menu is similar to the ones at their other brick-and-mortar locations in Red Hook, the Lower East Side, and Greenpoint, with appetizers including chips and salsa or guacamole, wings, and 'Carne Fries' topped with braised brisket, caramelized onions, beans, cheese sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole (and I'm trying to pretend that doesn't exist). There are also tacos, burritos, bowls, enchiladas, and their famous rolled quesadillas with 'crack sauce,' a chipotle mayo.

They plan to launch delivery soon, and on Saturday they launched brunch. They're serving huevos rancheros; a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, cheese, rice, beans, sour cream, avocado sauce, chorizo and crack sauce; brisket hash and eggs; chilaquiles; and a breakfast quesadilla with bacon, eggs, and cheese. They range from $10 - $12.

There have been waits for a table just about every night, but thankfully they're open from 11:30 am to 11 pm daily.

Wednesday
Feb262014

Trois Pommes Patisserie Closing March 23

I first noticed a couple weeks ago that Trois Pommes Patisserie, the 7 year-old bakery on Fifth Avenue between Garfield and Carroll, had been put up for rent for $8,500/month. As expected, the bakery will be closing soon, and its last day will be March 23rd, owner Emily Isaac posted to Facebook. Here's the note:

"Dear Facebook Friends:
I am sad to report that we will be closing this location on 3/23. We will keep you posted on information about our new location. Thank you for a great almost seven years. Please join us at 5pm on the 23rd for a farewell party and bake sale. $10 will get you booze, food and all the baked goods you can grab."

While it hasn't been officially confirmed, rumor has it that the bakery will be moving to a new home in Sunset Park. For many, no stroll down 5th Avenue was complete without a stop into Trois Pommes, and it'll be missed. Make sure to stop in to pay your respects before it's gone for good.

Tuesday
Feb252014

Parco Closes After Sudden Passing of Owner Alex Pozzan


Some sad news to report from the southern end of the neighborhood: Alez Pozzan, the Italian ex-pat who opened Parco on 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets in 2003, passed away suddenly last week, and his popular cafe has closed, possibly for good.

Pozzan came to the city in the early 2000s from the northern Italian mountain village of Cortina D'Ampezzo, and soon afterwards he opened his tiny cafe, which made some of the best croissants, quiches, dog treats, and other baked goods around. One of the area's finest and least expensive breakfast items was his croissant sandwich, filled with eggs, cheddar, and ham or bacon. A croissant or crepe filled with spinach, prosciutto, and mozzarella made for an equally satisfyng lunch, along with quiches in varieties like sweet corn and bacon. Available foods changed daily according to what Pozzan wanted to make, and he was known to whip up creations on the spot after a customer suggestion. Coffee, from La Colombe, was also some of the neighborhood's best.

Friends left a note on the front gate, spotted by FIPS (who is also helping to find his dog, Luca, a new home):


You'll be missed, Alex, and so will your charming little cafe.

Thursday
Feb202014

A Peek Inside The Chocolate Room, Re-Opening Soon on Fifth Avenue

The Chocolate Room closed up shop at its original location on Fifth between St. Marks and Warren a couple months ago and moved into a small pop-up shop a block away while its next location, in the space that was occupied by a glass shop for 101 years before closing, is under construction. I took a peek inside earlier this week, and construction seems to be coming along.

Swir Glass opened in the space in 1912, and in 1972 the Garrastegui family took it over, changed the name to Mega Glass and Sashes, and ran it until being forced to sell late last year. The Chocolate Room, the shop and cafe specializing in - obviously - chocolate, snatched it up soon after (after their own rent skyrocketed), and their newest incarnation will majorly increase its size.

It looks like the place has basically been gutted, save for the ceiling. No word on whether the new owners threw out the violin that was mysteriously hanging from the ceiling when the "new" owners moved in 42 years ago and never touched.

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