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Wednesday
Sep032014

Burger Village, Organic Burger Joint, Coming to Cheeburger Space on Seventh

Out with the old burger, in with the new burger. The second location of Great Neck-based organic burger restaurant Burger Village will be opening in the space last occupied by Cheeburger Cheeburger, on Seventh Avenue and Third Street. Many thanks to a tipster for sending the below photo of a sign that's gone up in the window.

Burger Village's offerings seem to be about as high-quality (and high-minded) as it gets, with a whole page devoted to explaining the virtue of the ingredients. All meats are organic, grass-fed and cage-free, the produce is local and organic, breads are all-natural and handcrafted, the dairy is from grass-fed cows, the beverages are sweetened only with natural cane sugar, and so on. Not to resort to stereotypes, but this place is perfect for Park Slope.

It's not just beef on the menu, either; there are also six-ounce bison, turkey, elk, ostrich, wild boar, salmon, and lamb patties, with grilled chicken sandwiches, a BLT, and a hot dog rounding out the meat options. There are also several "un-meat" burger options (mushroom, black bean, and veggie patties, all vegan), as well as sides like fries, onion rings, wings, and chicken tenders, salads, and shakes.

Burgers range from $10 (beef) to $13 (ostrich), with salads averaging $10 and vegan burgers costing $9. These prices are also taken from the Great Neck location's website, so they may change.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, that's probably because it is: Bareburger is only two blocks away, and has a very similar menu, even down to the six-ounce patty size and meat options. Bareburger's menu is a bit more creative and expansive, but at the end of the day it appears as if their offerings are more or less identical, with a similar price point as well. Interesting decision to open a location so close to such obvious competition, but it could certainly attract some overflow from what's one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood.

Monday
Aug252014

Nunu Chocolates Coming to Caramello Space at 179 5th Avenue

Nunu Chocolates, the successful Brooklyn-based chocolatier whose offerings are sold nationwide, will be opening up a cafe and shop in the space on Fifth between Lincoln and Berkeley last occupied by cannoli shop A'Putia, and before that Caramello.

I ran into Andy Laird, who runs the company with partner Justine Pringle, and he told me that the new shop will feature a wide selection of truffles and caramels, a cafe, and 10 different craft beers on tap. There's another brick and mortar location, on Atlantic between 3rd and 4th, which is also their flagship and factory.

Nunu Chocolates are a staple at specialty stores citywide (locally, they're available at Annie's Blue Ribbon, Blue Apron, Bierkraft, The Ploughman, and Union Market), and has a stellar reputation. Each (addictively good) chocolate is made by hand, and the single-origin cocoa comes from a sustainable family-run farm in Colombia. Their salt caramels are super-popular, along with absinthe, raspberry, and hazelnut ganache-filled chocolates, and their hot chocolate. 

The Chocolate Room is in the process of moving into a larger space a half-dozen blocks away and has a similar business plan, but something tells me that there's plenty of room for Nunu in the neighborhood, especially with such a stellar reputation.

If everything goes to plan, Laird told me, the cafe should be open within a month.

Thursday
Aug212014

Closed for Business: Terroir, 284 Fifth Avenue

Nearly two years after its high-profile opening on the corner of Fifth Avenue and First Street and 3 1/2 months since the space was put on the market, the only Brooklyn location of "elitist wine bar for everyone" Terroir has shuttered.

The mini-chain, which has locations in the East Village (the original), Murray Hill, Tribeca, and a seasonal one on the High Line, is run by Hearth team chef Marco Canora and sommelier Paul Grieco, two of the most respected guys in the business. This location had a solid selection of wines, small plates, and charcuterie, as well as a nice brunch, a reasonable and creative happy hour ($3 glasses of sherry!), and a generally funky, humorous attitude.

I reached out to Grieco, and he replied with his trademark brand of humor, saying that "unfortunately business realities doth sometimes interfere with the pursuit of a good glass of grape juice."

He also confirmed that a new tenant has been lined up for the space, but that he'll let them make the announcement when the time is right.

Tuesday
Aug192014

Liquor License Denied for Amaro Wine & Spirits on Fifth, Again

 

Back in January, local resident Steven Fromhart rented the space on Fifth Avenue between First and Garfield that was last home to boutique Lucia with the intention of opening a unique wine and spirits store with an emphasis on digestifs and aperitifs. Surprisingly, however, his liquor license was denied by the State Liquor Authority, on the grounds that the shop would be too close to Red, White, and Bubbly (between President and Union) and Picada y Vino (between 3rd and 4th). Fromhart challenged the decision, but it was upheld by the SLA, and the space will be put back on the market. 

In an email, Fromhart makes it clear that the potential competition played an active role in the proceedings:

"The owners of Red White & Bubbly and Picada y Vino returned with their lawyer to maintain their opposition on the grounds that Park Slope would not be served by a competitor due to the neighborhood’s 'starter family,' 'budget-minded' demographics, zero population growth, and no new significant residential and commercial development since 2008 (when Picada y Vino was established). The chairman of the SLA agreed, saying that he did not want to see 5th Avenue become a "liquor row."

He continues:

"The SLA Board members stated that their official ruling was based on Amaro Spirits & Wine being too close to both of these opposing stores. The fact that the two distances were further than certain other stores are to each other on 5th Avenue (and 7th Avenue) had no bearing. The Board also did not comment on rigorous, vetted data presented regarding the true nature of residential and commercial development in Park Slope, its household demographics, and the fact that Park Slope currently has less stores per capita than Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill/Downtown, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, and Williamsburg. The uniqueness of the store's business concept and product base, also contested by the two opposing stores, was acknowledged by the Board."

Fromhart concludes by saying that he's working with the landlords "to find a new tenant for the storefront who will offer something unique and marketable to the neighborhood while maintaining its charm and character."

Interesting.

Monday
Aug182014

Seventh Avenue's Subway on the Market for $7,975/Month

It's been a little less thn two years since an outpost of Subway opened (with very little fanfare) on Seventh between Berkeley and Union in the space that was previously the longtime home of Leaf and Bean, and I don't think anybody would argue that it was a success. It was empty most of the time, and now it's a certifiable failure: the space has been put on the market.

The 1,100 square-foot space is up for lease for $7,975 per month, which is actually on the low end for comparable spaces in the area. The Yogo Monster space, for example, is up for $10,500, and the Walk-In Cookbook space is leasing for $9,500.

Hopefully the (slightly) lower rent will attract a tenant that's able to take better advantage of the Art Deco-inspired storefront, and do a little better job at connecting with the neighborhood. It appears as if it will remain in business until it's rented, so fingers crossed that the lower asking price produces quick results (and possibly inspires some other local landlords to make their asking prices more reasonable).

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