Montague Street’s La Traviata To Be Replaced By… Another Eatery?

After La Traviata at 139 Montague Street shuttered in the middle of the night November 9, 2011, it would be logical enough to suspect the 30-year-old Italian eatery along Brooklyn Heights’ primary retail enclave will be replaced by 1) Montague’s eighth nail salon 2) T-Mobile, to join neighbors Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T or 3) Generic Retail Chain XX.

But no, there’s actually a glimmer of hope. Passing by the joint Tuesday, a sign in the window says: “Attention Residents And Neighbors. RDR Bar & Restaurant Corp. plans to open a Tavern-Restaurant,” with a request for public comment with the Community Board Committee. The company is seeking a license to sell liquor, wine and beer.

A search for RDR doesn’t reveal a lot of info: The company is based in Middle Village, N.Y., as a “food and drink/restaurants” entity, so it appears locals will have to whet their appetites and wait to find out exactly what’s in store. But it appears clear Brooklyn Heights isn’t destined for Olive Garden or Taco Bell.

Meanwhile, Ralph Tommaso, the owner of La Traviata, told neighbors in November that he surrendered La Traviata between Henry and Clinton streets after “exorbitant rents” left him frustrated. Robert Fink, owner of the Heights Cleaners next door, told The Brooklyn Paper, “He just couldn’t take it anymore.”

However, Tommaso’s landlord, Carl Zerbo of Doraldo Holding Corp., insisted that rent wasn’t the issue: “Ralph just got tired of it. There’s never been an issue with the lease. I’ve always tried to be fair with him. That’s why he’s been on the block since the 1980s.”

And a footnote… or rather, a hand note: VIP Nails, the seventh salon set to open along Montague at 93, has posted a notice indicating it intends to open this month.

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  • nv

    would someone please post this or follow up on the story. the blue pig lives on…

  • Jorale-man

    I’d submit this could be a pivotal opening. Will it be raise the standard of Montague dining – a trend that we’ve seen hints of recently? Or will it continue the tradition of so-so to mediocre restaurants that have long dominated the street?

    Hopefully they’re see that residents here desperately desire – and will patronize – restaurants that cater to locals and not the workday lunch crowd.

  • Jorale-man

    Sorry, spell check: that should read “Hopefully, they’ll see…”

  • stuart

    I’m so bored with all this whining about Montague Street. Sheesh. Get on the subway and go to Little Italy or the Upper East Side if you find it so mediocre.

  • lulu

    Little Italy? You’re not from New York are you…

  • Fritz

    Why are nail salons such a good business? Do they front for something?

  • resident

    Fritz: this has been covered thoroughly, but here’s a rough primer. Despite what some on this board believe, nail salons appeal to almost every socioeconomic group. It’s also a service that appeals to workers on their lunch break, which as we all lament, is Montague St.’s prime market. Finally, I believe that these are usually more than simple nail salons and often provide other services such as waxing, etc.

    It’s no shock that there are several in the neighborhood. There’s probably too many, but there will always be a few on Montague St.

  • resident

    As for the new place, I think it would be pretty sweet if the place was more tavern than restaurant. All the bars in the neighborhood, with the exception of Henry St. Ale House are essentially on the periphery of the neighborhood. A nice bar that provides a shorter walk would be awesome.

  • Willow St. Neighbor

    I have had several excellent Italian meals in Little Italy at several different restaurants. What’s your point?

  • stuart

    Little Italy is as New York as it gets lulu.

  • GHB

    I think that Lulu’s point is that Little Italy is nothing more than a tourist trap.

  • Willow St. Neighbor

    The fact that Little Italy is a tourist trap does not mean that there is no good Italian food to be found among it’s many restaurants.
    Having said that, my favorite Italian restaurant is Becco on 46th Street.