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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.


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.


The New O'Connor's Finally Revealed

One year and eight months since it closed, the newest incarnation of beloved classic dive bar O'Connor's, on Fifth between Bergen and Dean, has been revealed. If you were a fan of its old-school throwback scrappiness, avert your eyes:

The new facade has been revealed, and it looks like just about every other standard Irish pub in the city. An improvement over the previous sparse black-panted brick? Sure. Anything special? Not really.

As for the interior, the folks at the Brooklyn Eagle got a look last week (above). All traces of its past have been scrubbed clean, and even the 80 year-old antique bar and back bar have been needlessly banished to the junk heap. The new bar is a plain slab of walnut, with some knee-scraping stone underneath. It's hard to tell, but by the direction of the sunlight it looks like the bar has also been moved to the other side of the room.

There are also "some walls with walnut paneling, others with newly exposed brick, a stone fireplace and leather upholstered banquettes," according to the newspaper, as well as a big room in the back, and a second floor where they'll host "small weddings, First Communion and christening parties." No sign of the antique phone booth owner Mike McMahon removed and promised me he would return.

There's a kitchen, and food including corned beef and cabbage will be on offer. A name change is also in store; when it opens it'll no longer be called O'Connor's, which is probably for the better.

Park Slope needs an Irish pub.... We want a place you can bring your mother, your grandmother, and the kids,” owner Mike McMahon said, without a trace of irony.



Joe's Pizza on Seventh Closed for 'Renovations'

Joe's Pizza, the traditional pizzeria on Seventh between Carroll and Garfield, has closed up shop, with a sign in the front doorway saying that they're "temporarily closed" and reopening soon.

The pizza here is good if not spectacular, and the space is no-frills and old-school. They've never really stood out from the pack, so the owners probably decided to invest in an upgrade more substantial than a new sign, which is a couple years old at this point. Construction paper is up, which also indicates that something is actually going on inside (as opposed to the owners bluffing, which is somethimes the case).


Closed for Business: The Walk-In Cookbook, 72 7th Avenue

The Walk-In Cookbook, the experimental gourmet shop that opened last August on Seventh Avenue between Lincoln and Berkeley, closed down today. Owner Filip Nuytemans sent an email around to their mailing list announcing the closure a couple hours ago; here's that it said:

We have enjoyed providing you with our recipe offering hoping to have brought something new and different to your dinner table.  Unfortunately, we are unable to make our concept work in brick and mortar and we are closing the store today.  We would like to thank you for your support, it has been a pleasure getting to know many of you.  Our best wishes to you and your families for a great 2014.
The Walk-In Cookbook Team

The shop took a unique approach to cooking a meal: they provided you with the recipe and all the ingredients needed to cook a meal from scratch, down to the teaspoon. The ingredients for about 15 rotating meals, from fish tacos to green chicken curry, were available at any time, along with a handful of pantry staples.

It was a good idea, but never really found a niche in the neighborhood, and not many predicated that it would even stick around as long as it did considering the fact that it was usually empty. Those looking to cook a meal can usually find everything they need by going to the supermarket, and the fact that shopping here would result in no waste wasn't enough to change people's habits.

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