Heights History: The Promenade Restaurant On Montague Street

Before the popular Heights Cafe opened at 84 Montague Street and Hicks Street, there was The Promenade Restaurant—teeming with 1970s (1980s?) charisma. A sign at the corner entrance boasts Steaks, Chops and Seafood, while in the postcard image above, you’ll note there was also a second doorway on the Montague Street side, advertising Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Inside, thick gold drapes hung in the windows, along with vinyl booths lining the premises, complete with coat hooks, chandeliers against the walls and glass globes over tables. The back of the restaurant’s postcard offers, “10 minutes from Downtown Manhattan. In the historic Brooklyn Heights section. Full menu at reasonable prices. Greek specialties, wines, liquors, cocktails.” The joint’s hours: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. Its also intriguing to note that The Promenade had a 212 telephone exchange. Who knew (and who remembers)? This updates a 2009 BHB post with photo immediately below from Melanie Hope Greenberg. Following Melanie’s photo are a contemporary view of the Heights Cafe, and a vintage Promenade Restaurant posstcard.

Above, Melanie Hope Greenberg’s image of the Hicks Street side of The Promenade Restaurant. Below, photo of the Heights Cafe by Chuck Taylor, winter 2009.

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  • melanie hope greenberg

    @Chuck That top photo has my copyright and was used on this blog in January 2009.( Look at the cars in the reflection of the glass windows). Either pay me for the usage, ask my permission to use the photo first, or give me a credit. Thanks.

  • CrankyOne2

    hey melanie, considering all the free advertising you get on this blog with you shilling your ‘projects’ on Open Thread Wednesdays, you should pay them!!

  • melanie hope greenberg

    I haven’t talked on here for a few years due to negative commenters. Got an email from a friend to go look. Where’s my byline?

  • WillowtownCop

    Does it have your copyright because you took the photo? It looks like an old postcard to me.

  • Jorale-man

    Didn’t Norman Mailer write an Op-Ed for the NYT lamenting its closure and conversion to the Heights Cafe sometime back in the 80s? It looks like it was a groovy place at any rate.

  • melanie hope greenberg

    @willowtown, the top photo was used on this blog on Jan 18 2009. Check the archives.

  • ima sandhog

    Jeez, give Melanie some credit for that crappy photo. She must be in a bad spot.

  • tljla

    Interesting to see the original 212 area code for NYC on the post card! I never realized it covered additional boroughs besides Manhattan.

  • Master Of Middagh

    @melanie hope greenberg- You took that picture? I wouldn’t brag about that- LOL!

    Use your loaf, lady. This blog doesn’t generate a profit- there’s nothing to pay you for. It’s completely fair use and only a twit would come begging for recognition or a handout.

    You don’t want us to see your picture unless you get something out of it? Not only are you wrong about that, but you’ve totally displayed your colors- never go around telling people that you are generous or kind, seeing as how you expect to get paid for every breath you take…

  • melanie hope greenberg

    Thanks everyone for proving my point of why I no longer write or talk on this blog due to the negativity.

  • lois

    I side with Melanie – give her credit for the photo. I am sure Chuck would have if he knew the history. I also agree with Melanie that this blog sometimes deteriorates into ridiculous complaining. Keep it positive unless there is really something to complain about.

  • lois

    I have had the same problem with an organization’s website. At their request,I take the pictures at no charge to them, send them to be posted and get no credit. I don’t want money for them, but it is only right to give credit where credit is due.

  • melanie hope greenberg

    Thank you Chuck and Homer.

  • Cadman

    So many wonderful Sunday brunches with friends at the Promenade. It was a great loss when it closed.

    As for Melanie’s photo- shouldn’t all photos credit the photographer

  • Master Of Middagh

    @melanie hope greenberg- The negativity I displayed was intended satirically because you made a big point of saying how nasty everybody here was. It’s a fine picture- sorry you didn’t get the joke…

  • John Wentling

    The Promenade had a London broil sandwich to die for, and all of NYC had the 212 area code until the 80’s.

  • melanie hope greenberg

    Mean is never funny. The negative comments are like dog poop I see on the sidewalks all over the Heights. Used to be lots cleaner around here when I took that photo on so many levels. I would love to have linked this post to my social network but alas, the commenters blew that chance for the both of us BHB.

  • Publius

    @Master (of bation): You’re the joke. I’m usually in the “Don’t Feed the Trolls” camp, but everyone, and I mean everyone who reads this blog knows what you’re all about. It makes me regret that Al Gore created the Internet to give clowns like you an anonymous and public forum to vent your bile. Clearly you’re a troubled person. Get help.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/13189502@N02/ Eddyenergizer

    Oh lord here we go again…

  • http://n/a Barbara Shernoff

    The Promenade “coffee shop”, as i used to call it, was a very nice coffee shop type restaurant which eventually expanded into a store that became vacant next door to it. Norman Mailer used to enjoy going there.

    Does anyone remember the wonderful Piccadeli restaurant which was located where the Montague St. Saloon was and is now a Housing Works site? My husband and i became fans of the restaurant after we moved to the Heights in 1968 until it closed-for tax evasion-in 1975 or 76.
    it was a two floor restaurant, nice and homey, comfortable atmosphere-wood paneled walls, booths and tables and the food-lots of deli and great french fries-was terrific. We still miss the place and still speak of it at times, Nothing similar ever took it’s place here in the Heights. Sad that it was closed down. It would have remained a very popular place to this day.
    i looked back at a post by Valerie Frankel in 2011, who, she writes has lived in the Heights since 1992. She called the Promenade restaurant a greasy spoon-which it certainly was not. It was just an older, un-trendy restaurant with many long time Heights patrons. the place was clean, pleasant looking and the food was decent. Ms. Frankel also wrote of the Heights being less gentrified when she moved here. Why do so many people think the Heights was gentrified??!! The only thing that has changed, since i moved here in 1968 are the stores on Montague Street and an old, run-down movie theater on a block on Court street, near Schermerhorn St. (the edge of the Heights), which had become an eye-sore. The entire neighborhood has been landmarked since 1965 AND it was beautiful way before that and before we moved here-for a few hundred years at least!! A part of the neighborhood- an area near the edges of the north heights did have renovation-older buildings being taken down to build 3 highrise co-ops. Those plans were drawn up and approved before it was landmarked-so the changes were eventaully made. Ms. Frankel also wrote of “whole blocks of boarded up buildings in the Heights—WHAT???!!!-NOT SO–that never existed in Bklyn Heights!!-i wonder which neighborhood she was referring to! As i mentioned, there an old movie theater on Court street near Schermerhorn St. which became run down and eventually became an X-rated/porno movie house-and thankfully was finally taken down to be replaced by a Barnes and Nobles and the present mutiplex movie theater.

    Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and many other neighborhoods gentrified. The Heights did not have to–i have been living here for almost 44 years and take offense to people saying things like that. If you love living here-learn the history of this wonderful neighborhood before you give out misinformation about it.

    Barbara Shernoff

  • Nabeguy

    The Promenade had a Lumberjack Special breakfast that consisted of three eggs, a stack of pancakes, sausage, ham and bacon, and the requisite home-fries…the perfect after-club meal. And a heck of a lot better than the mood on this thread. ..

  • Master Of Middagh

    @Publius- LOL! But you ARE a troll, Publius!

    Al Gore “created the internet”? Oh, I get it. You’re trying to steal my act!

    @melanie hope “Where’s my byline?” greenberg-

    Your initial comments were mean-spirited and I thought it was pretty funny of you (disproving your point). But I wouldn’t go to your social network on a bet! LOL! Please, no! Don’t punish us by denying us your golden wisdom, oh favored one! Ah, ha, ha, ha ha! You’re too much, lady! :)

  • Janeonorange

    The Piccadilly was a great place too (corned beef and pickles) and the 212 area code together with the ULster 8 exchange made learning your phone number pretty easy.

  • Cranberry Beret

    @ Barbara – this predates your arrival in ’68, but much of the north heights never recovered after the depression/WWII and remained quite sketchy in the late 40s through the late 50s (which is what led to the Moses “urban renewal” plan). The docks were closing, the Squibb factory and others were closing, the BQE dug up the neighborhood. The residual effects, including gentrification, lasted right through the 90s. That the St George was a SRO with homeless people roaming the building, which led to the huge fire in the early 90s, is a testament (and kind of a close) to that era.

  • AEB

    Thank you, Barbara S., for your enlightening on-the-spot reporting.

  • Another Barbara

    Bravo Barbara Shernoff for your response. We didn’t even use
    the terms gentrified and trendy until the newbies came along
    and see everything old as a negative. Walk down Bleecker
    St. near West 10th and you’ll see a place Ms. Valerie will be
    happy living near…all stores on both sides of the streets
    block after block, Coach bags, Marc Jacobson, and all these
    dress shops…I wanted to puke!
    For those of you who care about the Heights, try not to make
    major changes. It’s uniqueness is a gift for all.

  • http://chucktaylorblog.blogspot.com/ Chuck Taylor

    Hello, people! Melanie has now been given credit for the photograph, which I did not recognize was hers when I first posted. The Brooklyn Heights Blog ALWAYS gives a photo credit to pictures that are provided to us, as well as credit to other blogs and websites (Brownstoner, Daily News, etc.). You will see it at the bottom of every post, typically in italics. Now let’s please try to keep things on a positive note, shall we? Thanks!

  • David on Middagh

    [Chuck, thank you for your hard work and attentiveness. When you made your plea for a return to the topic, I was in the middle of fishing out my two cents to lay down on the countertop of Satiric Digression. I hope you’ll forgive me for attempting to tie up that conversation.]


    I am not sure that my being a fellow commenter on this blog gives me a right to say this, or living on the same street as you do, or having read your words, but I do not believe that your satiric style is doing the job you intended. May I make a suggestion or two?

    Instead of mocking negative remarks by presenting a plausible argument in an offensive style, why not make your satire immediately apparent by deploying that style against an undeniable Good:

    “The sad truth that such blogs as this one democratically allow any commenter in possession of a fact to enrich the story as given or to set the record straight, offends years of progress in infotainment and the culture of celebrity journalism that I for one am not ready to relinquish. Are we to be henpecked by facts in every area of our lives…?”

    Or something. (I’m sure you could do better with a few moments thought.)

    Alternately, you could mock the mean commenters themselves:

    “As a longtime resident and construction gawker who has forgotten more about the pros and cons of blue-tinted concrete than most people will ever be in a position to know, I think my opinions on the Fulton Mall renovation should be given just a bit more weight than those of the drive-by blatherers who see this blog as a mere distraction from their humdrum lives.”

    Again, I’m sure you could do better, so I’ll leave you to it.

  • David on Middagh

    [Thanks, Chuck. I’m done, now.]

  • AnnOfOrange

    Does anyone remember what was at this site before the Promenade Restaurant? I have a vague recollection that it was a butcher and/or poultry shop. Or was that another corner?