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Fresh Bite to Replace Magic Deli on Fifth and Degraw

Magic Deli, the unassuming bodega on the corner of Fifth and Degraw previously known as Degraw Deli Grocery, closed up shop all the way back in January, and a lengthy renovation has been taking place since then. When it reopens it will be called Fresh Bite, according to a new sign on the sidewalk shed, and it will specialize in "Coffee. Bagels. Salads Grill. Subs. Organics."

The previous incarnation, along with the usual bodega staples, sold a surprisingly expansive (and tasty) array of tamales, tortas, and other Mexican specialties (and even the occasional cow's feet soup), which was very popular with local workers on their lunch break. I've reached out to the email address on the "Now Hiring" sign for more details, and will update if I hear back.

UPDATE: I heard from the owner, Moe, who also owns two similar shops in Manhattan: "We are not the same owners of Magic Deli. We have 2 locations in the city under the name of "The Best Of NY Food." This is our first experience in Brooklyn. What we offer in our stores are the best food products from salads, sandwiches, bagels, and others. We are bringing a place where anyone can go to grab some good fresh food. Although my main focus will be at the food area, I will  carry  all type of healthy organic  snacks."


Dimbulla Tea Shop Coming to Corner Burger Space on Fifth

Corner Burger has been sitting vacant since closing down in December of last year on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sixth Street. The space has been rented, and the next owner has announced themselves via a sign in the window: It'll be called Dimbulla Tea Shop, and will be opening sometime next month. Many thanks to a tipster for sending along the above photo.

Sadly, no more information is available online, other than the fact that Dimbulla is a famous tea-growing region in Sri Lanka (which is certainly known for its tea).

Both Corner Burger and its neighbor, Chip Shop, were put on the market and later closed at about the same time, and Chip Shop's replacement, a Malaysian fusion restaurant called Al Seabu, also announced its opening a couple weeks ago. I wouldn't be surprised if both new businesses, which unfortunately have minimal online presences, had the same ownership. This certainly sounds unique, however, and definitely has a lot of potential.


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.


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.


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?

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