The “F” is for FAIL: F. Martinella Kaput

Manager Steve LoCastro in happier times.

Manager Steve LoCastro in happier times.

Two BHB tipsters have alerted us that F. Martinella, the “old style New York deli”  from Boar’s Head [119 Court Street]  is down and out for the count.   “Chris” emails us and says:

“I walked by F. Martinella on court and there was paper in the windows and employees not answering if they were closing, as all the equipment was being loaded out… One employee said “don’t know”

And nabe blogger Flappy Days who is quickly becoming the George Jessel/ Grim Reaper of Court Street eateries reports:

Back in October, Boar’s Head decided to try their hand at a retail shop in Downtown Brooklyn with the old-timey sounding and looking “F. Martinella” deli. I guess people weren’t eating enough hoagies to cover the $125 a foot rent, ’cause I passed by there this morning and saw guys loading unopened blocks of ham and turkey into a truck. On the way home, my suspicions were confirmed when I saw the windows taped over. Despite the misleading claim that they had been in business since 1949 (Boar’s Head was actually started in 1903, and if you count the kiosk at JFK, F. Martinella had been in business only a few years, tops), they actually lasted only 10 months. Ha ha! But is anyone surprised? The food was bland and the neighborhood didn’t need another deli (let alone one that was way to fancy for its own britches).

Don’t let the neighborhood hit you on the way out, and good riddance.

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  • bufera collins

    Ick on the gloating tone. I don’t think it helps anyone in the neighborhood for a business to fail.

  • Stan

    Ack on the condescending self righteousness. I don’t think it helps anyone for you to make such a comment.

  • matt

    This place was a trainwreck on all fronts. I say, “Good Riddance”.

    Normally, I’d feel bad for the people working, but those employees deserve to be collecting benefits. Sorry, just telling it like it is.

  • Brooklyn Law student

    Its a shame how the people in Bklyn Heights dont appreciate quality when it smacks them in the face. Constantly thinking the “man” is keeping them down. THe only thing that ran this place out of business is the fact that the local morons who worked there were slow, inefficient and always undercharged…

  • charles almon

    Always undercharged?
    Why didn’t anyone tell me about this place.

    I agree with the first 2 comments. I hate when a Biz goes out of Biz.
    Except maybe, Spicy Pickle on Montague, the food was truly generic and awful.
    Thankfully Armando’s is returning to its original location.

    I have lived in the heights for 3 decades and have longed for a good kosher deli to hit Montague.

  • Ethan

    I hated this article. It was in poor taste. Its never a good thing for a business to go out (unless its truly hurting people). This article was clearly written by a short sided person.

    And since when do we have too many delis?? I’m sorry but a bagel store with some turkey doesn’t constitute a deli and neither does the awful overpriced wraps sold at Court Order and Lassen. In fact, I don’t think BK Heights has a solid true deli at all….

  • yo

    maybe we’ll get a sonic

  • Jose Uribe

    “Ha, Ha!” . . . “Don’t let the neighborhood hit you on the way out,ad good riddance” . . . I don’t understand why this blog would post an article that appears to have been written by a 16 yr old. Is BHB pro small stores going out of business now?

  • yo

    if not a sonic, i hope a BK moves in…we need one of those in the hood

  • ABC

    people have lost their jobs. it’s a shame. this article is terrible. we know homer says he’s always “on the side of right” so this is a bit of a mystery to me.

  • Homer Fink

    Lighten up people. It’s a headline. The reportage is from a reader and from the Flappy Days blog which is quite irreverent.

    So if you’re going to hate please be accurate i.e.:
    Homer your headline sucks.
    Flappy you are one cruel blogger…maaaaaan.


  • Br’er Bear

    Is it sad that people lost jobs? Absolutely, and my heart goes out to them. My invective was not directed at the employees, though, but at the cynical corporation that opened the shop. And since when is Boar’s Head a “small store”? No, I wrote what I did because F. Martinella, from it’s invented vintage (“since 1949″) to it’s tiled floors to it’s fake name fronting for a giant meat company, was designed to fooling the neighborhood that this was a good, old-time shoppe. It wasn’t. Also, I like the deli at Pacific Market, so it is my opinion that that space could be better utilized.

  • no name

    This is a sad day the employees worked so hard for this store no notice to kick out on the street is a shame.

  • Bart

    I passed by the store every Saturday morning on my way to Trader Joes. The store was visually appealing with its white tile and old-time look. Perhaps it will become a Soda Fountain.

  • John Smith

    John Smith – the name I used to give them when they required it…since when do you have to give your name to buy a sandwich?
    On the plus side – F. Martinella, even if a fairy tale name, provided a breath of fresh air (clean and comfortable) in a neighborhood with disgusting places to eat and disgusting people who frequent these places. It was overpriced but worth it for the void of riff raff. On the minus side, the employees were stupid, slow and inept. They deserve to be out of a job. The locals don’t deserve a decent place – maybe it will become a White Castle.

  • Br’er Bear

    Talk about heartless – thanks John Smith for being a bigger jerk than I am, maybe that will take some of the heat off my post. The locals don’t deserve a decent place? Why are you reading/posting on a local blog then? Also, painting the entire staff with the broad brush of “stupid, slow and inept” is an unfair generalization. Just cause you had a bad experience with one or a few, doesn’t mean that description applies to all. Besides, these folks just lost their jobs (and not because they were inept, but because their bosses thought it was a good idea to open a high-end, high-priced deli selling only boar’s head meat and bland breads/toppings).

  • Ryan P.

    Shame on the cynics who are happy about Martinella’s failure. It’s never a good thing for a business to go under, corporate or otherwise. I really can’t understand why anyone would display such contempt.

    People keep dinging Martinella on their supposed “lack” of authenticity. So what if they weren’t really a “vintage” deli? Does it really matter that they were owned by Boar’s Head instead of Mom and Pop? From the day they opened their doors I was impressed with their variety, freshness, and most importantly their cleanliness. Not to mention, the neighborhood is lacking a deli where you can get a decent sandwich. Seriously – Court Order? I think not.

    True, you can get better value at La Bagel Delight (they pile a half-pound of turkey on their sandwiches for the same price), but I think Martinella was a great addition to the neighborhood, and they will be missed.

  • nabeguy

    You’ve got a brand name that’s been around for 106 years and you call the place F.Martinella…now, that’s what I call inept.

  • John Smith

    The bosses had a great idea and they were decent people. The problem was that you had to deal with with 5th grade educated workers to buy a premium product. Therein lies the paradox and confusion created for customers like me who are willing to pay a premium price to get a little suburban tranquility in an otherwise sea of urban decay. Does anybody consider the possibility that the business was doing ok but that the landlord caused a problem? This may be the same scenario that closed Blimpies.

  • Qfwfq

    I would like to note that at least one of these “F. Martinella was so great!” comments suspiciously comes from a corporate branding/marketing firm.

    Look, it was a corporate marketing experiment during an economic downturn. It sucked. They shut it down. We all feel the employees’ pain.

  • Jazz

    Where are the Brandworkers thugs? Why aren’t they rallying to defend these poor workers?

  • casper

    The criticism of this deli is utterly ridiculous. Was this place some legendary neighborhood fixture owned by a beloved “mom and pop?” No. But who the hell cares who owned the place. It was an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable place to get a decent, fresh meal, on a stretch of Court Street that is relatively devoid of such options. And they had wireless internet, to boot. So you didn’t love the service from the people working behind the counter? Honestly, I’m not sure what you expect out of deli-workers. I went there a bunch of times and never noticed anything negative about the staff, I even found them to be pretty friendly. One wonders (ok, I wonder) whether the “appearance” of the staff may be what some commenters here felt so uncomfortable with.

    So… To sum up… Grow the F up. It’s never a good thing for a business to fail, and this place was nothing if not a decent addition to the neighborhood. I’m not sure what the haters expect or want out of a freaking deli. Good grief.

  • Peter

    My suspicions are again confirmed: Brooklyn Heights has the whiniest population in the United States. Seriously people, do you ever take a moment to listen to yourselves? I have my moments too, but geez …

  • sue

    we had a great jewish deli on Montague street a loooong time ago, I think where Housing Works is now. Great stuffed derma. And a Burger King. Like you really want BK back.

  • nancy

    Boy could I use a nice old fashioned kosher deli in the Heights. Yummy.

  • Teddy

    I’m curious why they closed. If it was a lack of business, then I would understand given the location. The Checkers place on the same block seems to be doing well, along with other businesses that cater to the work crowd. “Upscale” & Court St. don’t seem to mix well.

  • hoppy

    I very vaguely remember, when I first worked in the area circa 1994, that there was a kosher or kosher style place on the west side of Court Street (between either Jor. and Liv. or Liv. and Sch.) which specialized in franks and french fries. When the guy at the counter took orders for french fries, he had a characteristic shout to relay the number of portions ordered–“TWOOO FREEEENCH!, THREEEE FREEEENCH!”

  • nabeguy

    Picadelli’s, why have you abandoned us? A great old-style pickles-on-the-table pastrami joint, and on Montague Street to boot. How many of you would truly frequent an establishment of that kind?

  • JC

    i think APPLE should move in. Put a nice apple store in downtown brooklyn.

  • Teddy

    It would be too small for a Apple store. Maybe Apple could put their new Brooklyn flagship store into the new building going up at Boerum & Atlantic. Then again, I didn’t hear or read anything about Apple possibly opening up a Brooklyn store in a long time.

    I also wonder how long those yogurt stores will stay open.