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Closed for Business: Brooklyn Central Pizza, 289 Fifth Avenue

Some sad news for brick oven pizza lovers: Brooklyn Central, the Neapolitan pizzeria that opened on Fifth Avenue between First and Second Streets in October 2012, has shut down. The windows have been papered over and the phone has been disconnected. Many thanks to the several tipsters who reached out to let me know, and for reader Gabo for forwarding the above photo.

Brooklyn Central opened with a fair amount of fanfare, namely because of their custom-built Stefano Ferrara pizza oven and the fact that the two owners, Naples-born Roberto Patriarca and Matt Hyland, were both veterans of Boerum Hill's renowned Sottocasa. Hyland left just six weeks after its opening (he's since opened Clinton Hill's super-popular pizzeria Emily), but the closure is still a bit surprising because it had a reputation for very good pizza and it always seemed to have a fair amount of diners inside. And aside from Franny's and Giuseppina's, there aren't many other places in the area to get a solid and authentic Neapolitan pizza.

That said, there are a few potential reasons for its closure: It never got nearly as much buzz as it probably should have, their Twitter and Facebook pages were lacking, the seating arrangement was awkward and the back yard never got much use, the menu probably could have used some pasta dishes and wider non-pizza options, they didn't deliver, and, of course, high rents.

The space has been on the market for the past few months; if it's been rented we'll probably be learning about its replacement soon.


Beauty Bar, Ollie & Ry Spaces On The Market

Two prime Fifth Avenue storefronts have appeared on Craigslist within the past couple weeks: Beauty Bar, the outpost of the popular mini-chain between Garfield and Carroll; and Ollie and Ry, the still-new bagel and sandwich shop a block further north.

Beauty Bar, which took over half of the space formerly occupied by Ozzie's Coffee in 2012, has a solid concept but never really found a niche in an area with no shortage of great watering holes. They recently started offering free hot dogs with every $10 purchase but put an end to that, but their $5 PBR tall boy and shot of Evan Williams deal is still a certified steal. It's one of the few storefronts with a frontage that's parallel to Fifth Avenue, making for a truly great space. The 1,400 square foot space is on the market for $8,500.

As for Ollie and Ry, this is one business that sadly seemed misguided from the get-go. The two chefs who opened it in February had a good idea — sell quality coffee, baked goods, bagels, and sandwiches inspired by their Korean and Chinese heritages — but the space never really came together, they didn't develop much of an online presence or buzz, and it just never found a footing. Which is a shame: these guys really know how to cook, and their house-cured salmon is among the best I've had. Hopefully they can find a place that allows them to make the most of their talents. The 2,400 square foot space (which includes a full kitchen, two walk-ins, and bagel-making equipment left over from its time as Bageltique) is available for $6,300, which isn't a bad deal.


Open for Business: Fresh Bite, 168 Fifth Avenue

A new corner deli called Fresh Bite opened on Sunday on the corner of Fifth Avenue and DeGraw Street, in the space last occupied by bodega Magic Deli.

It's a fairly straightforward if no-frills sandwich shop, with a decent selection of Boar's Head cold cuts, cold salads, and other supplies needed to make a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches. There's also a small selection of hot foods in the steam table. All breads and other baked goods (including bagels, which looked surprisingly decent) are delivered daily from a wholesale bakery in Long Island City.

Along with sandwiches, there's a decent variety of sodas and other beverages as well as chips and salsa and other snack foods, with an emphasis on healthy and organic items. The owners are friendly and seemed quite happy to be open and serving the neighborhood. While there's certainly no shortage of places like this in the area, that doesn't mean that they're not good to have around.


What's Going on With Bierkraft?

Bierkraft has been one of the most popular spots in the neighborhood to grab some great beers and awesome sandwiches for years, but something very strange seems to be going on with them. 

First, the storefront was tightly locked yesterday, and Sunday is usually one of their most popular days. Second, their website has gone offline. Third, their usually very active Twitter account has been completely shut down. It still has an A rating from the Department of Health, so we know that's not the culprit. The lights are off, and nobody's home. 

The shop specialized in selling a huge selection of beers, and their growler station was consistently busy. Things got even better a couple years ago, when they received permits to serve beer on-premises and a seating area was added. If this is indeed the end of the road for Bierkraft, it'll be a major shocker, and a major loss for beer lovers. 

UPDATE: Many thanks to a couple tipsters for pointing me to their Instagram page, where they've just dropped their only hint about what's up: "Renovations are coming! Stay tuned in and turnt up."


Breaking: Zito's Sandwich Shoppe Closes on Fifth, Indian Restaurant Moving In

Some sad news to report via Twitter: The only remaining Park Slope location of Zito's Sandwich Shoppe, which opened its (now-closed) Seventh Avenue location with much fanfare in 2011 and expanded to a second location at 195 5th Avenue (between Union and Berkeley) the following year, has sold its space. Owner Marcello Bucca confirmed that the shop has already closed, and that the owner of the next occupant of the space, a "fantastic Indian" restaurant, will begin renovations tomorrow. 

Those looking for their Italian sandwich fix will have to travel to the only remaining location, which opened last year in Bay Ridge. 

Here is their farewell sign:

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