Heights History: The Story Behind Some of the North Heights’ Restaurants And A Look At Them From 47 Years Ago

Back in the 70s and 80s (possibly as far back as the 60s), 50 Henry Street was an organic produce market, according to Lahm. He said there was “beautiful produce,” but the place was in a constant state of disarray and there were flies. Plus, the proprietor failed to pay the rent. So, that was the end of that. There was a period of three years where the location went through five or six businesses, including a Cuban restaurant, a generic coffee shop, and a kid’s party space, according to Lahm. Eventually it became a wine bar, but that establishment met its end when it became engulfed in a credit card skimming scandal [aka the “Busted Chef” – ed]. In June of 2009, Lahm and business partner Jim Montemarano opened a new wine bar in the space, calling it simply Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar.

Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

They were looking for something more casual than Henry’s End and saw this as a “natural extension” and even as a staging area for customers waiting for tables at Henry’s End, which doesn’t have a bar. Lahm is proud of his selection of Tre Bicchieri wines, some of Italy’s best, along with many wines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Every bottle he has is available by the glass, but those older ones have a two-glass minimum. Paul Giamatti is a celebrity regular. Salama, who has been behind the bar and waiting tables there since shortly after it opened, said the most notable thing in its history was the response to Sandy. They were open and packed. One table for four had two anchor customers while a slew of different people would occupy the other two chairs. She said that Lahm never forced any of his staff to come in during the aftermath, but if you wanted to work, he would send a cab to get you and then he’d get you home.

Seared Bratwurst at Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

What The Owner Says To Order:
Seared Bratwurst on a pretzel roll with red cabbage, Bavarian mustard, and German potato salad. While the wine bar is more casual than the restaurant, a great many items are a full entrée in size. The bratwurst is the perfect combination of rich flavors and it will fill you up.
Alternate: Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with pecorino, crispy prosciutto, and lemon

ARCHIVE DOCUMENTS: 1922 Certificate of Occupancy | 1938 Certificate of Occupancy | 1958 Certificate of Occupancy (PDFs)

Now for a quick trip down Cranberry Street to Jack the Horse Tavern (66 Hicks Street – website).
Jack the Horse Tavern. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

According to owner Tim Oltmans, the building was constructed back in 1829, but the restaurant actually occupies space in 66 Hicks Street and neighbor 64 Hicks Street, which was built in 1915 and was an apartment as far back as 1940, according to city records. 66 Hicks Street’s first floor was G. Marcolini Fine Wines & Liquors for 50 or 60 years, according to Oltmans.

66 Hicks Street, 1967. Photo courtesy New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

Eventually it was another wine shop and even a pet store before sitting vacant in 2006. Enter Oltmans (and his wife Micki), a native of Minneapolis, where his father’s fresh garden engrained his love of food, and veteran of restaurants Trois Jean, Gramercy Tavern, and Tabla and of the French Culinary Institute.

Tim Oltmans is interviewed at Jack the Horse Tavern. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

In 2008, the couple opened Jack the Horse Tavern, whose name comes from Jack the Horse Lake in Minnesota, where Tim, his father, and brothers used to go fishing.

What The Owner Says To Order:
Cocktail: JTH Negroni (made with Brooklyn Gin) or an Old Fashioned
Appetizer: Heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella
Entrée: Slow-braised short rib with cheddar grits and Brussels sprouts (Sep-Apr)


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  • Muskrat

    When Henry’s End first opened it was like a little earthquake in the nabe – such an appealing vibe and so different from everything else. It was hip as in “hippy” – not hipster! We especially loved the Mobil gas Pegasus sign. It’s nothing short of amazing that the restaurant is still there and thriving.

  • Kit

    I fail to understand how your history of 60 Henry does not include mention of longtime resident, Soo Soo’s Yum Yum Restaurant.

  • BrooklynBugle


  • Mini

    Yes, Su-Su’s was great. Miss it. Isn’t Bevacco in that space now? Sad. Never tried Becacco because the menu doesn’t entice me and it seems always empty.

  • GHB

    Maybe if you gave it a try, it wouldn’t look so empty!

  • MPV

    No, not sad. Bevacco is a wonderful space with excellent food and charming, authentic cocktails. The menu is two full pages including apps, salads, pizza, pasta, burgers, panini, and entrees. The bar has hundreds of bottles on the shelf. There has to be something for you. Give it a try before you knock it.

  • suzanne goss

    They meant Su-Su’s.

  • suzanne goss

    The produce place referred to at 50 Henry was Norman’s. Yes, flies, and babies crawling around on the floor (their’s.) Amazing produce and cheese and breads. Every day something new. wow how they would fit in now, in today’s farm-to-table, artisanal, world…

  • suzanne goss

    Noodle pudding as originally McGr*ths? No?

  • Bornhere

    I think McGrath’s was on Fulton Street (before it was Cadman Plaza Something).
    And you’re right about Norman’s — where they didn’t need “artisanal” to sell their exceptional goods.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Who is Evan Bindleglass? Never saw the name before but appreciate the effort and quality job on this story. (photo’s included) With Evan and Michael Randazzo joining Claude Scales, the professionalism is getting mighty impressive. Nice job Evan and hope to see more posts in the future.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Evan is a freelance writer who has also contributed to Curbed NY and other well known sites. We’re amped that he’s agreed to work with us. Coupled with the BHB regulars, the imminent return of Heather “86 Mets” Quinlan and new kid Mike “Randazzle” Randazzo we’re bigger and better than ever. Like what you see? Contribute to our editorial fund and keep BHB, CHB and the Bugle one of the very FEW remaining INDEPENDENT blogs in Brooklyn — https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brooklyn-bugle-editorial-fund-2015/x/7880010

  • college kid

    The correct name of the original owner of Henry’s End is Donald Beckerman. instead of Henry’s End, we used to call the restaurant, Hank’s Rump.

  • MonroeOrange

    you can see their truck in the picture….

  • mary anne killeen

    McGrath’s was indeed where Noodle Pudding is now located. As teens, we would go there to drink cheap beer and watch the Yankees win (it was the 70’s). There was a window in the back room, where the kitchen is now, which opened into the alley next to the firehouse. There was a bell hung inside the window, with the cord hanging out he window into the alley. At night, the bell would ring, someone at the bar would go to the refrigerator, lift out a couple of six packs, open the window and hand them out the window to a waiting firefighter. Simpler times!

  • Bornhere

    What a neat memory!

    My recollection went back to this (which I vaguely recall, although it was well before I was old enough to even see over a bar). http://tinyurl.com/kcfyr9m

  • suzanne goss

    was the “A” still on the sign at that time?

  • grewuphere

    Great produce, also cheap. I miss Norman’s (and its crazy, awesome owner, and his traffic hazard of cat) dearly :/