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Details Emerge About New 5th Avenue Wine & Spirits Shop, Amaro

Last week, I first reported that a new wine and liquor store would be opening on 5th Avenue between 1st and Garfield, in the space last occupied by boutique Lucia. It will be called Amaro, and owner (and 10-year park Slope resident) Steve Fromhart talked to Park Slope Stoop about what we can expect.

It's a fairly lengthy interview, but here's a distillation (no pun intended): He'll be selling mostly wine, digestifs, and aperitifs. The wine will be predominantly from small producers, and will average $9 to $25 per bottle. The real point of differentiation will be the spirits component, though: he's focucing on herb-based digestivi and aperitivi like Aperol, Averna, Ramazzoti, Cynar, Campari, Fernet-Branca, and the like.

In Italy and other parts of Europe there's certainly a culture of drinking herb-based, bitter aperitivi (like Negronis) to stimulate the appetite before a meal, and medicinal-tasting digestivi (like Averna or Underberg) after a meal to help digest. Apparently he's planning on stocking about 75 of these spirits from 20 different countries, with more in the works.

I happen to be a big fan of Negronis, and even of Underberg in its tiny little bottles, but this is certainly a niche category. As previously established, though, wine and liquor stores tend to do quite well, and this could stand apart from the pack if it's one of only a few shops in the city selling some harder-to-find spirits. No word on whether he's planning on stocking staple liqours like vodka and rum, but if he doesn't he'll most likely end up confusing a lot of potential customers.


Calexico Finally Revealed on Fifth Avenue

It's the day we never thought would arive: the construction shed has come down from the newest outpost of Calexico on Fifth Avenue near First Street, and we finally have an idea as to what it's going to look like.

The bare brick white storefront is quite a change from the wood paneling and slats that came before it, and it's different from the look of their other two brick and mortar outposts, in Greenpoint and Red Hook.

It was nearly two years ago when the Cal-Mex chain announced that they'd be moving into the space, which was last occupied by Blue Ribbon Sushi, and construction has progressed in fits and starts since then. But you can't deny that this shows some major progress!

Many thanks to reader Andrew for sending in the photos.


Signage Up at 'Taco Santo,' Opening Feb. 1

A couple weeks ago, I first reported that Fort Reno BBQ, on Union Street near 4th Avenue, had closed for business, and was being replaced by a taqueria from the same owner, Jacques Gautier, who also runs Palo Santo across the street. He'd been on the hunt for a name, and it was revealed last weekend: Taco Santo.The Dia De Los Muertos-inspired sign has gone up, and they've announced via Facebook that the opening date has been set for February 1.

The made-to-order tortillas, which will be measure about 4 1/2 inches across, will be the star of the show here, filled with pork (from whole pigs), chorizo, chicken, duck mole, mushroom, cactus, Baja-style fried or grilled fish, fried avocado, and lobster (pictured). Tacos will average $3. Gautier will be executive chef, Puebla native Alejandro Bonilla will be chef de cuisine, and mixologist Corey Lange has been brought in to head up the mezcal-centric cocktail program. 



Signage Up at Buttermilk Bakeshop

Signage went up yesterday morning at Buttermilk Bakeshop, the bakery that's in the works on Seventh Avenue just south of Ninth Street.

As we first reported last month, the small bakery, run by pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse, will sell cakes, cookies, chocolate truffles, homemade ice cream, whoopie pies, French macarons and other sweets and pastries, as well as coffee, hot chocolate, and hot cider. Offerings will be baked fresh throughout the day, on view through the front windows.

If all goes to plan, it should be opening in early February.


Wine & Spirits Shop Coming to Former Lucia Space on 5th Avenue

It appears as if a wine and spirits shop is coming to 272 5th Avenue, between 1st and Garfield, in the space home to boutique Lucia before it moved up the avenue last September. Many thanks to a tipster for sending in the above photo, of a notice posted in the front window indicating that the company, somewhat oddly named Digestive Gastronomic, has applied for an off-premises liquor license.

It's not clear if the shop will be more of a liquor store or fine wine shop, but there's no real shortage of either in the immediate area, with Red White and Bubbly, Picada y Vino, and Prime Time Liquors all within easy walking distance. Either way, a more convenient place to buy wine and booze is always welcome, especially when its name is Digestive Gastronomic.

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