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Monday
Jul212014

El Pollito Mexicano Expands into Space Next Door

El Pollito Mexicano, the Mexican restaurant on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sterling Place, has expanded into the space next door, a room which was previously home to a recording studio named Translator Audio.

The restaurant, which was a mediocre Italian spot called Trattoria Mangia for several years before the owners decided to switch concepts in 2009, has become one of the more popular Mexican restaurants in the area, thanks in part to its inexpensive lunch special, edible food, outdoor seating, and bottomless brunch.

The expansion, which is right next door on Sterling, seats about 30, and will be used for overflow and private parties.

Friday
Jul182014

Garfield Farm Space on 7th on the Market for $17,500/Month


Garfield Farm, the bodega and fruit stand on the corner of Seventh and Garfield, shut down recently, and the space is available for a whopping $17,500/month, making it quite possibly the highest-rent vacant space in the neighborhood.

The 2,100 square foot space joins plenty of other vacant storefronts on this stretch of the avenue with outrageous asking prices, like the Chiles & Chocolate space ($12,800) and the Yogo Monster space ($10,500) next door. The Sweet Melissa Space near First Street is on the market for $14,000, The Walk-In Cookbook space is available for $9,500, and the former Two Boots space is for rent for an astronomical $16,000.

The landlord and real estate company involved with renting out the building told Park Slope Stoop that they don't want to space to remain vacant for long, and are looking for a "business that can satisfy the needs of the community without corroding the feel of the neighborhood.” The agent also pointed out to me in an email that it's "renting at below market value in order to attract some locally grown businesses that can flourish in this spot."

It's a nice sentiment, but I'm not sure how many mom and pop shops can afford rent that high, unfortunately.

Wednesday
Jul162014

Melt Owner Opening "Rare Earth" in Same Location

For those who had high hopes that the dearly departed City Sub would be re-opening in the storefront next door that was last occupied by Melt (which closed "for renovations" last September and never re-opened), some unfortunate news: a new restaurant called Rare Earth is opening in the space (on Bergen Street just off 5th Avenue), and it's from the same owner as Melt, Muguette Siem A Sjoe.

Siem A Sjoe told Park Slope Stoop that the restaurant, which posted a menu in the window, will be open shortly, in as soon as a week.

The menu (click for a larger version) is divided into separate sections, Ocean, Earth, and Land. "Ocean" includes oysters with a watermelon mignonette ($15), fluke crudo ($12), and peekytoe crab raviolo ($20); "Earth" includes heirloom baby beets ($12), garden grilled flatbread ($10), and buckwheat cavatelli with corn and dendelion greens ($19); "Land" includes porchetta ($12), a short rib burger topped with Jack cheese, tomato jam, and caramelized onions ($14), and braised brisket ($22). Each section is separeted into what appears to be appetizers and entrees.

There's also a brunch menu with options including shredded beef and eggs, baby Dutch pancakes, and chicken and waffles; a kids menu; and a few desserts. The menu also notes that the food is made with "wholesome, fresh, naturally grown ingredients, served at its peak harvest time," which basically every new restaurant is saying at this point.It will be open until midnight during the week and 1 AM on the weekends, with lunch coming soon.

I'm approaching this with cautious optimism; the menu looks creative if a bit conventional ("naturally-grown ingredients" aren't much of a selling point anymore; neither is the segmented menu approach). Utimately it will come down to the skills of the chef, and whether or not the same issues that plagued Melt (high chef turnover, alleged poor management, high price point, side-street location) will affect this one.

Tuesday
Jul152014

Excelsior to Close, Looking for a New Home

The building that's been home to Excelsior, one of the area's only remaining gay bars, since 1999, has been sold, and it will be closing soon, a bartneder there confirmed.

The venerable establishment has outlasted plenty of other nearby watering holes, and along with Ginger's it's the only local one geared toward the LGBT community. While they're being forced to close, it's not due to a rent increase or the like; the building was sold and needs to be delivered vacant, and while a closing date hasn't been set yet there's a good chance that they'll be sticking around until August 31.

While they'll no longer be in the same space by the time cooler weather rolls around, they're not gone for good; the bartender told me that the owners are actively searching for a new home nearby.

Photo via Foursquare

Thursday
Jul102014

Signage Going Up at Doughnut Plant Brooklyn

It was first announced only about a month ago that a location of the popular (and delicious) Doughnut Plant, which has two locations in Manhattan (including the original near the Manhattan Bridge) and one in Tokyo, would be opening in the building on Flatbush opposite Sixth last occupied by Yummy Taco. Construction has already begun in earnest, and signage has gone up along the corners of the triangular building.

Construction paper has also gone up in the windows, and it looks like we can expect an awning to be going up any day now. With construction going this quickly, we might be closer to getting some of the city's best doughnuts than we might have thought.

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