Daily News Salutes Three “Classic” Brooklyn Heights Establishments

The Daily News has been highlighting spots worth visiting near various subway stops, and Rachel Wharton’s piece today focuses on the Borough Hall station. The three places she chooses for her article are Armando’s, Lassen & Hennigs, and O’Keefe’s. She notes that Armando’s “swinging red neon sign” with its iconic lobster “appeared on ‘The Cosby Show'” and that Paul Osmers calls himself “the oldest living bartender on [Montague] street.” Wharton also mentions that among the celebrities who have imbibed or dined there was the late Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale, who mentioned the place in his autobiography.

Wharton describes how, after Alfred Calfa bought Lassen & Hennigs in 1969, he “boiled tongue by the pound,” but that his sons, who now run the place, “updated things for their clientele, replacing the boiled tongue with specialty sandwiches.” The owners’ “pride and joy,” according to Thomas Calfa, is the store’s bakery, which produces its signature red velvet cakes, also available at the L&H stall at Smorgasburg.

O’Keefe’s, at 62 Court Street, is a place that may not be familiar to many Heights residents. It’s a popular after work spot for the lawyers, judges, court officers, and other civil servants whose courts and offices are nearby. Wharton describes it as “the familiar corner tavern where you can usually get a seat with a view of the game along with your decent burger and fries.” She notes that “its wooden bar…seems to stretch the length of a city street” and that its “claim to fame” is “crispy and nicely spiced Buffalo wings.” Your correspondent recalls that O’Keefe’s once featured live music, mostly blues, on weekend nights.

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  • Lois

    I remember Lassen & Hennig’s before 1969 when Calfa bought it – it was a German type Deli across the street from its present location. I used to drive down from Clinton Hill on Thursdays for their Swedish Meatballs. I am glad to see that they have kept up with the times, changing and adding to their menu all the time

  • Wiley E.

    In my opinion, Lassen & Hennig’s has lost their former wonderful, fresh-deli character. Now, it seems more like a pre-packaged take-out joint, with too high prices. Never go there anymore.

  • AEB

    A goyishe “deli.” Only in BH!

  • Bob Sacamano

    I too also believe that Lassen & Hennigs has gone down hill a little bit. The wings at O’keefe’s are good but not typically where I go for a beer.

  • Boerum Bill

    I agree with everything except the doucheteria that is O’Keefe’s.

  • Moni

    I notice that the article didn’t comment on the quality of Armando’s food. When Drysdale ate there it was actually good. Now it’s sort of a Greek diner interpretation of Italian. Too bad. I’d eat there all the time if the kitchen was decent, but not a single improvement has been made since the place reopened. It’s not even as good as it was under the first Peter Byros version ( his daughter took a stab at it this time). Drysdale was there because the Dodgers used to stay in the Bossert — back when the food was Italian.

  • Heightsman

    Nice to see a shout-out to Paul at Armando’s! Nicest guy and true barkeep!

  • Wiley E.

    Yes, agree.

  • Mandboy

    Lassen & Henning’s has really lost the plot these days. Not only are the prices outrageous but the staff is rude. I bought a $3.99 12oz bag of popcorn there last week and the woman at the checkout (middle aged, mid-50’s) refused to give me a bag with handles. As I was pushing a stroller, I needed both hands to pilot it. She still refused saying that a paper bag without handles was all I could have. I walked over the Key foods where the lovely woman who work there gladly helped me out. L & H, say goodbye to my business.

  • Andrew Porter

    Lassen & Hennigs used to sell Orwasher’s onion rolls, but now makes their own, which are much less dense and enjoyable. Looks like I’ll have to start making trips to Orwasher’s or other retailers for them.