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Friday
May162014

C-Town Takes Down Union Market-Style Sign After Union Market Threatens to Sue

Back in March, the C-Town on Ninth Street between 5th and 6th Avenues replaced their old awning with one bearing a design that looked suspiciously like that of Union Market's. Union Market apparently also felt the same way, because the sign has been replaced with a new one, and a C-Town manager told South Slope News that Union Market threatened to sue.

The manager also said something interesting: “The same guy who designed the Union Market logo designed our new one, and he didn’t tell us they were so similar.” However, Pix Design's Valerie English, who actually designed the original logo, commented on my previous post on the subject, saying, "As the designer of the Union Market logo and branding, I'd like to think that it's a form of flattery that C-Town chose to use the Union Market branding as their inspiration."

I reached out to English, and she reinforced that she was the sole designer of the Union Market logo, and that neither she nor anyone affiliated with her firm had anything to do with the C-Town signage.

Tuesday
May132014

Duke of Montrose Bar Loses Scottish Theme, Now Just The Montrose

Duke of Montrose, the Scottish bar that opened on the corner of 5th and Bergen last July, has rebranded: now they're just The Montrose, and they've jettisoned the Scottish theme.

When the bar opened, it had quite possibly the widest selection of Scotch whisky in the borough: nearly 200 were available, classified in a huge menu by Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, Speyside, and Islands regions. Apparently that concept wasn't working out; the owners have kept only about 15 of them and shipped the rest off to their other pub, Caledonia, on the Upper East Side.

The beer selection used to be primarily Scottish, with five Belhaven varieties. That's also been replaced with a more run-of-the-mill craft beer selection, with 15 beers on tap including Goose Island IPA, Sixpoint Sweet Action, Stone Arrogant Bastard, and three Brooklyn offerings. They're also planning on introducing a menu of burgers and other traditional pub fare in the next several weeks.

A manager told me that they were losing potential customers, especially those attending events at the Barclays Center, because they didn't stock the expected beer and liquor selection.

Scotch whisky isn't an easy liquor to get really into (enough so that you seek out brands not available at most bars), but Duke of Montrose was unique and valuable for just that reason: it specialized in something, and employees were extremely knowledgeable about it. There should be someplace in the neighborhood where you can get a glass of Bunnahabhain if you want one, and have the bartender walk you through what makes it different from a Glenfarclas. 

Monday
May122014

Former Two Boots Space is For Rent

The popular Park Slope location of Cajun/ pizza mini-chain Two Boots closed down last November, 24 years after opening on Second Street just east of Seventh Avenue. The owners planned to re-open last winter after a renovation, promising that the new concept would have "the same warm welcome and relaxed party atmosphere, with much of our same happy staff and management." Unfortunately, that doesn't look like that's going to happen: the one-story building is currently on the market.

Many thanks to a tipster for sending over the above photo; the lot has been put up for lease, renting for a whopping $16,000/ month, or $4 per square foot.

Co-founder John Touhey decided to retire, and his partners in this location, Piper & Andy Wandzilak, took it over. Sad to see that they couldn't get whatever plans they had for the space off the ground; would love to have known what they had in mind. For the time being, we can add this space to the growing list of empty storefronts in the neighborhood.


Wednesday
May072014

El Gran Castillo de Jagua Moves into New Location Up the Block

After 40 years of holding down the highly visible corner of Flatbush Avenue, Park Place, and Carlton Place, Dominican restaurant El Gran Castillo de Jagua, one of the last holdouts of quality, inexpensive, no frills food in the area, closed up shop yesterday and moved up the block, into the storefront at 355 Flatbush Avenue that was last occupied by Z-7 Classic Diner.

The space hasn't changed much from its days as a diner (it was given a slight upgrade after the previous occupant, Parkside Diner, shuttered), except for the fact that the counter has been removed and replaced by the steam table. The rotisserie, which used to roast chickens in full view of customers, has been moved into the kitchen, so its scent (affectionately known as "El Carneviento") will no longer waft out into the street. The menu is essentially unchanged, save for about a dollar price difference (the Cuban sandwich has gone up from $5.50 to $6.50; prices are still quite cheap).

While it's certainly sad to see such a longtime tenant kicked out of its location (word is that a medical clinic will be taking over the entire corner), it's nice that it can move essentially lock, stock, and barrel to a nearby location.

Monday
May052014

Artisanal Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar Shop Coming to 140 5th Avenue

The second location of O Live Brooklyn, which specializes in premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, will be opening soon in the space last occupied by E Lingerie, on 5th between Douglass and Baltic.

The specialty (to say the least) shop already has one location on Broadway in Williamsburg, and at this location they'll feature dozens of single-varietal olive oils and balsamic vinegars on tap, as well as many flavored olive oils, salts, olive wood accessories, and a handful of specialty items, owner Greg Bernarducci told Park Slope Stoop.

“I suspect there are many among you who eat all-natural, organic produce and meats, and fresh olive oil is a natural and beneficial addition to a healthy diet,” Bernarducci added. He'll also be teaching an Olive Oil 101 class.

All products are provided by 90 year-old Veronica Foods, which works with producers all around the world.

Like the incoming shop that specializes in aperitifs and digestifs a few blocks away, this shop will have a rather narrow focus, which can work for it or against it. It's one thing to do one thing and do it well, but it's always a toss-up as to whether or not sales will be substantial enough to turn a profit in a space that's most likely very high-rent. Still, this shop will introduce plenty of items to the neighborhood that aren't yet available, so fingers crossed that they can make it work.

They're currently hiring part-time employees; those with a "knowledge of or interest in food, cooking, and healthy eating" can send their resume to olivebrooklyn@gmail.com, a sign in the window indicates.

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