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Entries in Scoops (357)

Tuesday
Mar052013

Closed for Business: Canaille Bistro, 78 Fifth Avenue

Canaille, the small French Bistro on Fifth Avenue between St. Marks and Warren that had a great reputation but was marred in recent months by a prolonged closure and a menu revamp, finally closed for good over the weekend. I ran into the building's owner right after the "For Lease" sign went up, and he told me the reason for the closure was unpaid rent. The space has already been cleared out, and according to the listing, the rent is $4,500/month, plus electric, or $67.50/square foot/ year. 

The cozy bistro, run by the husband and wife duo of Philippe de Crespi and Marie MacLean, was considered one of the neighborhood's hidden gems, and they arguably served the best French food around. The owners were in the restaurant nightly, and eating there was like dining in their living room.

In July of last year, after five years in business, the restaurant closed suddenly, and even though a sign said it would only be closed for a couple weeks, it didn't open back up until October.

Sadly, when it did re-open, it was but a shadow of its former self. Renamed "Canaille Wine Bar," it appeared as if the kitchen was no longer operational, as the emphasis was on cheese, charcuterie, a few cold appetizers, and wine. It was only open sporadically, with odd hours, and the axe finally fell over the weekend.

This is a loss that's actually worth mourning (even though the classic Canaille has been gone for months); a real mom and pop passion project restaurant that served fresh-made, no-frills French food in a low-key, unpretentious atmosphere. Sad to see it meet such an unceremonious fate.

Monday
Mar042013

Get Reel Closes, High-End Consignment Boutique Moving In

Get Reel, the 7 year old video store, closed as planned over the weekend on the corner of Fifth Avenue and St. Marks Place, and a new tenant has already been lined up for the space.

It'll be a location of the high-end Eleven Consignment Boutique, which has another location on First Avenue and Eleventh Street in Manhattan. Yelp reviews are largely mixed, and the focus is on the buying and selling of designer labels (their Twitter feed is advertising a pair of Louboutins for $350 and a Louis Vuitton belt for $125).

The north end of Fifth Avenue is one of the most competitive locations in the city when it comes to thrift and consignment stores, so these guys will have plenty of competition. If they could carve a niche out for themselves with their emphasis on high-end apparel, though, there's a good chance that they'll do well.

Thursday
Feb282013

Closed for Business: Tasti D-Lite, 339 Seventh Avenue

The Tasti D-Lite on Seventh Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets has closed up shop. Many thanks to a tipster for sending word that a "For Rent" sign is in the window and that it wasn't open last night. And while the phone line hasn't yet been disconnected, calls have gone unanswered.

There's certainly no shortage of frozen yogurt in the neighborhood, with the newest one, Yogurtland, opening about six blocks away in January. Winter is never a great time to run a frozen yogurt shop, especially one with so much local competition. This location was also robbed three times by the same bandit last year, losing about $600 in total.

 

Thursday
Feb212013

El Jalapeno to Close 

El Jalapeno, the Mexican restaurant on President Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, is for sale, and will be closing as soon as a buyer is found.

The restaurant, which has been regarded by some as serving the best Mexican food in the neighborhood but never really found its footing thanks to its off the beaten path location, has reduced menu prices by 25 percent and is selling beer for $4.

When I spoke to the manager, he told me that his father, who was a regular fixture in the restaurant as well as a co-owner, recently passed away. His business partner, the other owner, also passed away recently, leaving the restaurant in a sad state. They're unable to continue on without them, so have decided to put it up for sale.

I was always a fan of El Jalapeno, and it's sad to learn that it's coming to such an unfortunate end. I'd recommend trying their food before they close for good; I've never been anything other than impressed by it.

Monday
Feb182013

Get Reel Video To Close by March 1

Get Reel Video, which has been on the corner of Fifth Avenue and St. Marks Place since 2005, will be closing by the end of the month. A For Rent sign appeared in the front window last week, and then a few days ago the below sign joined it, confirming that the store will indeed be closing. An employee told me that while the closure could come as soon as this weekend, they need to be out of the space by March 1.

Owned by Christine Kim, the store was best known for its wide selection of independent films, knowledgeable staff, and quirky categorization system (Directors, Criterion, and "Movies You Probably Don't Know" were a few). The staff also gave the selection a personalized touch, dotting the stacks with notecards pointing out little-known gems.

"Becoming a member here is more than just joining a video store," Kim told me when I spoke to her back in 2011. "It's like joining a community film club. People come here to hang out, meet, and chat about film. Sometimes I come in and see people sitting on the floor! If we had more space we'd have a coffee shop in here too."

And while she knew that Netflix was certainly cutting into her customer base, there was one reason why it had such a devoted following. "When I ask people why they shop here, they tell me that it's because of the experience," she said. "It's like going to the bookstore. You can browse, read reviews, chat, and get recommendations. Everyone says to increase prices, but I never will. I just want people to see movies."

With this closure, that means that there is only one remaining video store in Park Slope: Video Gallery, on Seventh Avenue.