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Tuesday
Mar172015

After 70 Years in Business, Prospect Gardens Pharmacy to Close Today

Prospect Gardens Pharmacy, the old-school pharmacy on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Union Street, will be closing today. The building was recently sold for the record price (for a mixed-use building the neighborhood) of $8.63 million, and "a big national retail tenant" is slated to take over the space, according to the Daily News.

The pharmacy originally opened in the 1940s as a branch of the now-defunct chain Whelan's, with all the bells and whistles you'd expect in an old-timey pharmacy: a soda counter, floor to ceiling built-in wooden shelving, glass cases, and a rolling wooden ladder. When Howard Baskind (who owned the building until its recent sale) purchased it in 1980 he gave it an unfortunate and inexpensive makeover, complete with wood paneling and the word "PRESCRIPTIONS" in huge letters (in an admittedly great 1970s typeface) across the back wall. It was dated but had its charms, and thankfully Baskind left the classic old DRUGS PRESCRIPTIONS sign (minus the neon, unfortunately) hanging out front.

The pharmacy remained popular largely due to the pharmacists themselves, who knew their customers by name (and could recognize their voices on the phone) and became neighborhood fixtures: George Berman was the primary pharmacist in the 1960s and Wayne Lippman was behind the counter from 1985 to 2012.

"Why shop at a place that makes you wait three hours for a prescription? I don't understand it," Lippman told me when I dropped by in 2011. "Here we fill it in five to ten minutes. That's how we maintain our clientele. A lot of the old timers aren't around anymore, but when younger folks come in they're always impressed by the fact that we actually care about them."

All outstanding prescriptions will be transferred to Rite-Aid.

Wednesday
Mar112015

"Perfect Potato" Coming to 172 Fifth Avenue

A new restaurant called Perfect Potato is in the works at 172 Fifth Avenue, between Degraw and Sackett. With the motto "French fries for everyone!," it certainly seems like it'll be a welcome addition to those who are fans of fries.

Signage has gone up in the storefront's doorway, and photos posted to the Facebook page reveal that constuction, while still in its very early stages, seems to be progressing nicely.

"Gourmet Belgian fries with a wide range of unique sauces, delicious varieties of poutine, baked potatoes, all natural ice cream shakes and sodas" will be on offer, the owners posted.

Thankfully, it looks like this spot will be a lot more Pommes Frites than Potatopia.

Tuesday
Mar102015

Closed for Business: Baluchi's, 310 Fifth Avenue

The outpost of mini-chain Baluchi's that's on Fifth Avenue between Second and Third Streets has closed for good. Nobody answered the phone yesterday, and a tipster let me know that a "For Rent" sign has gone up in the window and workers were busy clearing out the space yesterday.

There are four remaining locations of the restaurant, which hails itself as "the first mid segment casual Indian restaurant in New York City," whatever that means. This outpost didn't enjoy a stellar reputation; it was shuttered by the DOH twice in two years, it was sued for discrimination in 2011, and a commenter on this post noted a particularly disgusting habit of one of its cooks.

I haven't been able to track down a real estate listing online, but the success of Stone Park a few doors down proves that a well-run restaurant in this rare double-wide space has the potential to do very well.

Thursday
Mar052015

Henri on Fifth Launching Brunch This Weekend

If you haven't yet checked out Henri on Fifth, the new neighborhood spot on the corner of Fifth Avenue and First Street, you should make a point to get over there. The menu is a lot of fun, the food is solid and creative, the price is right, the cocktails are good, and it's clear that owner Binh Douglas, who lives nearby and has a long history in the hospitality industry industry, knows what he's doing.

The restaurant, which opened in January, has so far been opening at 4pm, but starting this Saturday it will be opening at 11am and serving brunch until 4. The menu, which is below (click a larger version) has a nice mix of salads and sandwiches, egg dishes, toasts, oatmeal, lemon ricotta pancakes, and banana French toast. The unique fusion of the dinner menu certainly carries over into this one; the breafast bao (bao buns stuffed with eggs, cheese, and bacon, duck prosciutto, or pancetta) sounds tasty, as do croque monsieur and madame; avocado toast with lemon zest, chile flakes, and garlic oil; and steel-cut oatmeal with coconut milk, chia seeds, coconut milk, and agave (top). The sriracha deviled eggs, a highlight of the dinner menu, also makes a welcome reappearance here. Drink options also sound quite intriguing; I can't think of any other restaurant that will serve you a magnum of sparkling wine with three mixers for $41.

The previous occupant of this space, Aperitivo, was consistently busy during the brunch rush even though the menu was decidedly nothing special. Henri appears to be primed to pick up right where Aperitivo left off, albeit with a far more intriguing menu. 

Top photo via Facebook

Wednesday
Mar042015

Two Nail Salons Coming to Seventh Between Union and Berkeley

I first reported back in November that a nail salon called Latoue would be coming to the long-vacant space last occupied by Chiles & Chocolate, at 92 Seventh Avenue between Berkeley and Union. The awning has gone up, and it looks like it should be opening relatively soon.

Directly across the street, another nail salon is slated to open in the space that was until recently home to an ill-fated Subway, and before that Leaf & Bean. Park Slope Stoop noticed that a sign announcing the impending opening has gone up in the window, but no more information (except for the fact that it's going to be a nail salon) is available.

The neighborhood is absolutely saturated with nail salons at this point, and even though Latoue looks like it'll be high-end, these places really add nothing to the overall culture of the area. Hey, at least we can say that we're living through a golden age of Park Slope nail salons!

Photo via Park Slope Stoop

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