Goodbye Palmira’s

31245705062004145311Photo1.jpgA sign in the window of Palmira's on Clark Street informs passersby that the restaurant is closed and thanks the nabe for its support over the years.

This comes as a shock to us, anyone have more info?

In other restaurant news, Le Petite Marche on Henry Street was packed last night for New Year's Eve.  Comment below if you were there or have heard any early review. 

The New York Sun covers the closing in their 1/2 edition:

NY Sun: Brooklyn Locale Fails Seventh Eatery: Some say the restaurant space at Clark and Hicks streets in Brooklyn Heights is cursed.

Since 1982, seven restaurants have given it a go at the spacious 5,000-square-foot location in the heart of Brooklyn's court district, and each has met the same fate.

The latest closure at 41 Clark St. came on December 29, as owners Roger and Victoria Desmond shut the doors to Palmira's Ristorante after three tumultuous years.

Calling the location cursed may not be far off: Mr. Desmond said the building was struck by lightning in 2003, forcing the restaurant to spend its first two years hidden beneath scaffolding.

Even after the scaffolding came down last year and business doubled, Palmira's Ristorante wasn't making enough money to stay afloat.

In the hub of a wealthy neighborhood, only steps from the subway and walking distance from state and federal courts, 41 Clark St. appears to be a prime location for any restaurant.

Even with so much promise, Mr. Desmond said, the location couldn't sustain a large restaurant and bar.

"We gave it a shot, but there just aren't enough people in the neighborhood to make a 150-seat restaurant work when you need to make $25,000 a week just to break even," he said.

A 30-year resident of Brooklyn Heights who dined at Palmira's Ristorante about once a week, Poppy Quattlebaum, said she will miss the Desmonds.

"I think it's a shame. They really turned it into one of the best restaurants in the neighborhood," she said.

Most of the restaurants scattered along the quaint streets of Brooklyn Heights are small, seating about 50 people, and giving the appearance of bustling eateries even when half of the tables are filled.

"We could hide 50 people in our dining room," Mr. Desmond said.

In order to keep Palmira's churning, Mr. Desmond tried to attract clientele from other neighborhoods, but said the lack of sufficient parking spaces in Brooklyn Heights kept new customers from coming back.

The neighborhood eatery was one of the few venues in Brooklyn Heights that could accommodate large parties. A local club, the Brownstone Republicans, would get together for drinks at the bar after monthly meetings at 101 Clark St.

"It had great proximity, comfortable rooms, and the right space for us," the president of the Brownstone Republicans, Eric Miller said. "It's really too bad."

Two new restaurants, Le Petit Marche and Jack the Horse, have recently opened their doors in Brooklyn Heights. They appear to be following the successful approach of neighborhood favorites like Henry's End Restaurant and Noodle Pudding: Keep it small.

With just less than 50 seats, Le Petit Marche at 46 Henry St. appears lively with only 20 customers, something that is important to the owner, Daniella Silone.

"This neighborhood is small and it's hard to compete," she said.

Share this Story:


  • epc

    We ate there twice. The first time was right after they opened (they were “opening soon” for quite awhile). The food was bland and the service below-average. The manager came over and apologized before we even complained. We returned several months later and again weren’t impressed. Neither bad food nor service, but below average when compared to Noodle Pudding, Henry’s End, ICH or Five Front.

  • epc

    Meant to add this: I noticed several months ago that they seemed to change something with their lighting, the result was that they looked closed even when they weren’t.




  • homer

    to clarify, you’re talking about Palmira’s, right?

  • susan

    This place was terrible, i hope someone can do something great with the place. neither food nor service was any good. sad.

  • Robin Hall

    I feel bad about Palmira’s. It was definitely not Noodle Pudding, but it was a good neighborhood alternative to Clark Street Diner, if you stuck to pizza. We had my son’s birthday party there last year, and the owner was gracious and the staff incredibly helpful. My family will miss the place.

  • 111 Hicks Resident

    Palmira’s ownership had a long history of not making their lease payments to the 111 Hicks Street co-op from whom they leased. I, for one, am glad they are no longer in business.

  • Tim N.

    This is very sad. Roger is a great guy, and frankly, people who say the food was bad are way off. There are many mediocre red-sauce joints in Brooklyn, so when you find one that knows how to make a sauce you hold on to it with both hands. My wife, daughter, and I went there frequently and were never treated like anything but honored guests. They were very nice to my nine-year-old and very accomodating. We had her first communion party there and it could not have gone better. After a succession of below-standard pubby joints that came in before Palmira’s, I was glad to see a classy place in the space. Now I fear it’ll be just another burgers and brews joint. And at 25 grand a week, that one won’t last long, either.

    Maybe 111 Hicks should rethink their rental policies, or maybe it prefers dark empty spaces that generate no rent.

    We’ll miss you, Roger.

  • Matthew P

    Went to Le Petite Marche on New Years Eve. I liked it, though as everyone knows, New Years Eve is “amatueur night.”

    Every table was full, and considering they had only been open 3 days, the service was pretty good, considering that stress test.

    The food was also quite nice. The steak was good–excellent frites. I had the pork chop, which was big, juicy and well seasoned.

    I’ll be back.

    The space is a bit cramped. If you’re two people, try not to get stuck in the back next to the wall.

  • twofones

    I agree w/ Tim that the folks at Palmira’s were nice and that the places before it were terrible. But that said I wasn’t a fan. We tired eating there every now and again but didn’t like the food and eventually we just couldn’t bring ourselves to go back. Seemed for a while like it didn’t have long to live. I do hope someone comes in who has some staying power – it’s an awfully big space to fill…

  • Stephanie LaTour

    Does anyone know if Petit Marche is open for lunch, or know their phone number so I can call to find out?

  • Reg

    What and where is ICH?

    I am interested in eateries in Brooklyn Heights and read this comment from epc regarding Palmira’s….
    Time: January 1, 2007, 3:06 pm

    but below average when compared to Noodle Pudding, Henry’s End, ICH or Five Front.

  • epc

    Mike’s Steak house appears to have closed Friday the 5th (windows are all papered up).

    ICH is Iron Chef House, on Clark between Henry and Monroe Place.

  • L

    would a good KOSHER BAKERY work in the area?