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Thursday
Apr022015

New Taqueria Papi's Grill Posts Menu Online, Opening Soon on Seventh

Papi's Grill, the forthcoming Mexican spot from the same owners as the Sunset Park institution Las Rosas Bakery, looks like it's getting ready to open on Seventh between First and Garfield in the space last occupuied by wine bar/ pizzeria Piccola Uva. Signage is up, and the menu has been posted on their Facebook page (click for larger versions).

In short, this place looks like it's going to be awesome. The menu closely resembles that of the original, and is similar to what you'll find at taquerias all over the city, but not in Park Slope and other pricier neighborhoods. Tacos, tortas, tostadas, cemitas, burritos, huaraches, picaditas, tamales, pambazos, and breakfast items will all be available; Meats include steak, chorizo and egg, spicy pork, ham, chicken, spicy pork leg, chiicken tinga, carnitas, and goat. And to top it off, tres leches cake (which is very popular at Los Rosas) will be available for dessert.

For those who have been clamoring for a traditional taqueria (no offense to the Tacos Morelos truck on Union Street), this is a welcome and surprising addition to the neighborhood, especially on the north end. Not only that, it's something that's actually needed, and is from the owners of a much-respected institution no less.

Monday
Mar302015

Open for Business: The Estaminet Brooklyn, 107A Seventh Avenue

A new French cafe called The Estaminet has opened on the corner of Seventh Avenue and President Street, in the space last occupied by eyeglass shop Spectacles on Seventh.

“A hug in a mug, coffee, and more” is the shop's tagline, and the small space only fits a counter and a handful of tables. The coffee menu includes espresso, ristretto, macchiato, afogatto, Americano, cappuccino, latte, mocha, hot chocolate, and frappe. Prices range from $2.50 (espresso) to $6.50 (large hot chocolate).  There's also a selection of savory and sweet crepes averaging about $8, juices ($5-9), and yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast.

Unfortunately there's no Facebook or Twitter page and the website is inexcusably bad (95 percent of it still seems to be a generic "cafe" template, complete with lorem ipsum text), but at least the shop itself seems to be well-planned. There are several other places in that general area to get a cup of coffee (including Cafe Dada and Cafe Regular du Nord), and the small space doesn't really invite hanging around with your laptop, so it'll be interesting to see if another grab-and-go coffee shop will do well here.

Friday
Mar272015

Al Seabu, "Malaysian Fusion and Seafood Restaurant," Coming to Chip Shop Space

Chip Shop vacated its space on Fifth Avenue near Sixth Street on December 24th of last year, after 13 years of serving fish and chips and other British fare. Many thanks to tipster MaryAnne for sending the above photo of what will be its replacement: a Malaysian fusion and seafood restaurant called Al Seabu.

There unfortunately isn't much more information available online about the restaurant; a search only reveals an empty Facebook page for an "Alseabu Parkslope" and a State Liquor Authority contact sheet that lists the restaurant's address as 381-383 Fifth Avenue. Both of those storefronts (381 was Corner Burger) were up for lease, and shuttered, at the same time, so it's surprising that this one looks like it'll only be taking over Chip Chop's space. Perhaps the owners have a second concept in store for the corner space?

Wednesday
Mar182015

Chipotle Coming to 185 Seventh Avenue

It's long been rumored that Chipotle, the insanely popular burrito chain, was scouting locations in the neighborhood, and yesterday they finally made it known: They're opening their first Park Slope location at 185 Seventh Avenue, between First and Second Streets, in the space last occupied by the Met Supermarket.

Chipotle, like other quick-service chains, had reportedly been having a difficult time finding the perfect Park Slope location because the lunchtime rush is so much smaller than it is in, say, Midtown (that's the reason why the Subway further up Seventh failed). But by opening directly across from PS 321, which allows some students to venture within a several-block radius to buy lunch, they all but guarantee that there will be a daily influx of customers right around lunchtime.

"If I was going to put in a national food establishment, I wanted it to be an establishment that I felt was high-quality, good food," landlord Reyad Farraj, whose family owned the Met for 25 years, told DNAinfo. "I believe in their principles. I knew that if Chipotle was going to be there, they were going to draw on the neighborhood kids, and I feel good about kids eating Chipotle."

The 2,500 square foot space requires extensive renovation, so it most likely won't be open until late summer or early fall.

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.

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