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Entries in Scoops (365)

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.

Friday
Feb152013

Galaxy Comics on Seventh to Close Next Month

The Seventh Avenue outpost of Galaxy Comics, on the second floor of 123 Seventh Avenue (between President and Caroll Streets) will be closing by the end of March. There's a For Sale sign in the window, and manager Robin Buckwalter, who can almost always be found behind the store's front desk, confirmed that they're on their way out, even though the original Fifth Avenue location (between Eighth and Ninth Streets) will remain open.

There's a sale underway; lots of comics are 50% off, statues are 25% off, certain collectibles are 50% off, and tee-shirts are buy one, get one free.

Thursday
Feb142013

Brooklyn Fish Camp is For Sale

Brooklyn Fish Camp, the outpost of the West Village's Mary's Fish Camp on Fifth Avenue between St. Josh's and Lincoln, is officially for sale. I tracked down this Craigslist posting, which lists the turn-key restaurant for $275,000 key money and a rent of $6,333 per month.

Fish Camp is well-known in the neighborhood and never seems to be empty, but it also has a well-earned reputation for being overpriced. The quality of the food has always been high-quality, but the overhead appears to be way too high for a simple seafood restaurant.

These types of restaurants appear to be double-edged swords: serve high-quality seafood and you don't turn a profit, because you can't fill the house, because it's too expensive. Try to save money by buying lower-quality seafood (ahem), and even though the price is lower, you can't turn a profit, because you can't fill the house, because the food is low-quality.

And even though the rent is quite high, the space is charming, it's got a great outdoor area, it's a perfect (if high-competition) location, and it really is turn-key. Keep in mind, though, that just because a restaurant is for sale doesn't mean that it's closing any time soon. It does mean, though, that the restaurant is in trouble.

Photo: Maggie Frank