Update: Brooklyn Heights’ Montague Street Remains Rousing Retail Success Story

In May 2012, BHB wrote about an appreciable renaissance taking place along the Montague Street retail corridor, during which a dozen new businesses moved in along the avenue over the year preceding. Another snapshot of Brooklyn Heights “Main Street” this week reveals that Montague remains a bustling success story, with restaurants, spas, bodegas, bakeries and clothiers—and only three retail spaces currently awaiting tenants.

Read more: 1976 Montague Street Revitalization Plan

The three vacated spaces:
* 112 Montague Street, which held Starbucks until May 2012, holds the record for the longest-running currently vacated space. The coffee shop relocated to 134 Montague, and today, broker Massey Knakal continues to push the 2-story space, with a recently hung banner that covers the entire second-floor window. The realtor’s website listing notes that it offers 2,500sf on the ground floor and 2,000sf on both the second and basement levels, with “all uses considered.” Remember when it was a swanky Italian restaurant in the mid-1990s?

* In November 2012, St. Mark’s Comics at 148 Montague closed its doors after 24 years. A staffer told BHB then that the building owner hiked the rent beyond its means. Four months later, it remains empty. “No food” is posted on the window of the second-floor space.

* Women’s apparel boutique Ruby and Jenna opened last May at 130 Montague, above beauty salon Dashing Diva (and previously occupied by Migita Sushi). It shuttered March 10, 2013.

In addition:
* The long-empty space at 132 Montague Street, below Heights Vision Center, which housed a combo car service/cigar shop several years ago, is destined to open this spring as locally run Spanish tapas & wine bar “Taperia.” Bobby Cruz, former owner of the UPS Store on Montague, will be one of the new eatery’s managers. Alongside a roomy bar and seating within the surprisingly spacious interior, the restaurant will offer an outdoor dining patio, which backs up to Our Lady Lebanon Cathedral on Remsen Street.

And among new businesses since our previous report:
* In November 2012, Ani Sushi opened at 142 Montague after a lengthy build-out that took some five months. The second-floor space has held a revolving door of restaurants, including Oh My Pasta!, Taze Turkish restaurant and Kapadokya. Aerosoles has been grounded on the first level for more than a decade.

* Of course, the biggest news along Montague Street remains the soon-to-open to the public Bossert Hotel at 98 Montague, which was sold by Jehovah’s Witnesses to David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit for $81 million in November 2012. It is scheduled to open its doors for biz this summer. The 14-story property will update rooms with new design finishes and amenities, and restore the Marine Roof to a restaurant and lounge.

Meanwhile, over the past year or so, we’ve seen the launch of:
* Dellarocco’s of Brooklyn brick-oven pizzeria and bar around the corner from Montague at 214-216 Hicks Street, operated by Brooklyn-bred brothers Greg and Glenn Markman and Joseph Secondino.
* Across the street, the three narrow retail spaces remain filled, which has certainly not been the case for the long term: At 89 Montague is bodega Heights Deli & Convenience, which opened in April 2010… At 91 Montague is Excellence Threading Salon, which opened in December 2012, in the footsteps of Jeffrey Stein Concept Hair Salon and Dimples Kids Spa… And at 93 Montague, since February 2012, is VIP Nails & Salon.
* Le Pain Quotidien at 121 Montague opened in mid-April 2012, after previous Jennifer Convertibles closed in April 2010, leaving the space empty for two years. Business is booming.
* Irish pub Custom House opened at 139 Montague in June 2012, in the former space of La Traviata, which closed in November 2011.
* Area Yoga & Spa Center‘s second location opened on the second floor of 144 Montague, above Bentley’s shoes in May 2012, in the former location of Spring Thyme spa.
* Vietnamese “Bubble Tea & Vietnamese Sandwich” shop Hanco’s opened at 147 Montague in September 2011, and remains a runaway success. The retail space was dark for years, after the closure of previous tenant Mr. Souvlaki.

And there you have it… Success! (Photos: CT)

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  • K

    Funny that you call the mostly junk stores on montague street a “rousing success.” Just what I want a Tapas place run by someone who owns a packing store…sounds delicious.

  • David on Middagh

    Oh, K.

  • Chuck Taylor

    tacky, tacky… bobby cruz is a fine businessman whose dedicated customer service made him a beloved figure in the heights. your comment… low class…

  • Jorale-man

    This is an impressive roster of new businesses moving in – some quite welcome – though I’m not sure one can call it a “rousing success” in how it serves residents of the Heights. The restaurants sorely lag behind those on Smith Street (or even Atlantic Ave). And there’s still an oversupply of real estate offices and drug stores. Hopefully the tapas place will inject some more vibrancy into the mix and the hotel will give that corner some more life. It’s not quite there for me.

  • Curmudgeon

    Couldn’t agree with you more,Chuck. Bobby Cruz is one of the nicest business owners I know. And, by the way K, he was in the food business before he owned the UPS store so your comment is not only tasteless, but way off base.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    As one who remembers Montague St. back in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s, What it is now is pathetic,

  • AEB

    Monague is sort of surreal or holographic: a similacrum of an actual shopping corridor.

    The issue isn’t the banal, miniature golf-course second-rateness of it stores and shops–rather, it doesn’t really serve the needs of the live-in community for which it’s the main drag.

  • fast_walker

    Montague street doesn’t just serve the BH reidents. There are tons of folks who work in the civic center and Metrotech and lunch here during the week. Not to mention day-trippers in the summer. As far as the residents are concerned, the new Brooklyn Heights families fancy Le PQ and City Chemist, not to mention the hugely successful NY Kids Club with their terrific staff. And don’t forget Tango, an oasis of style and class minus 212 attitude.


    Agreed. I feel the same toward montaque as I do toward the village. Times have changed so much. The stores and people that made those two places just could not sustain themselves. I see why my grandfather missed the past so much..times were just better. The future is faster, but it has. No soul of humanity.


    All I see is a revolving door bussiness model.

    The lichee nut is still in biz I see. apparently chinese cuisine can beat any rent hike :) BH is still a wonderful place in brooklyn, but I no longer want to live in the area. I think that hotel will bring some celebrities…and thus, drama.

  • Boerum Bill

    Suck it, Flatbush!

  • Sally Moskowitz

    Success!? You’ve got to be delusional or on someones payroll.

  • Sally Moskowitz

    I apologize for my previous comment Chuck, I was informed that you were being “ironic”.