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

On July 31, Oltmans expanded by opening The JtH Oyster Room (37 Cranberry Street).
The JtH Oyster Room. Photo: Evan Bindelgass

Some people think it’s called JtH Next Door because of the sign on the door, but that’s a bit of a joke. You see there is a sign at the entrance to Jack the Horse Tavern that says “OYSTERS next door” and the sign on the Oyster Room entrance is an indication that you’ve reached “next door.”
Oysters Next Door. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Oltmans wanted this space from the beginning, but it wasn’t feasible until recently. Prior to its current incarnation, it was framing shop run by Katie Browning.

What The Owner Says To Order (in addition to oysters):
Cold: Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs or Classic Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
Hot: Fried Goat Cheese Balls & Sumac Spiced Honey

ARCHIVE DOCUMENTS: 64 Hicks Street: 1940 Certificate of Occupancy | Undated Certificate of Occupancy | 37 Cranberry Street: 1987 Certificate of Occupancy (PDFs)

Back to Henry Street now and a visit to Bevacco (60 Henry Street – website), just one of the Italian restaurants on the street owned by a native Italian.
Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

60 Henry Street is also the Cranlyn apartment building at 80 Cranberry Street. It’s a classic 1931 Art Deco building and some believe it to be a city landmark. That’s true, sort of. Like every building in this piece, it is part of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, which, in 1965, became the city’s first designated district.

The Cranlyn, 80 Cranberry Street, 1967. Photo courtesy New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

That means every structure in the district falls under the city’s landmarks law. Any changes to the outside of a building or construction of a new building must go through the Landmarks Preservation Commission before they can happen. The storefront that is now Bevacco was actually two spaces back in 1967 and those were a beauty salon and a food market.
60 Henry Street, 1967. Photo courtesy New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

Eventually, it was Busy Chef, which was brought down by the same scandal that brought down the predecessor to Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar. But that was the past. Let’s focus on how we got to the positive present. Peter Sclafani was born in Sicily and came to the United States at the age of six. He always had a passion for food and restaurants and eventually met Kristen Hallet. The two married and opened Park Slope staples Provini, Bar Tano, and Bar Toto, which was a regular stop for Mayor Bill de Blasio before he moved to Gracie Mansion. In fall of 2011, they added Brooklyn Heights to their domain and opened Bevacco, which is from the Italian slang for “eating and drinking meeting place.” They are proud of how fresh everything is and of their all-Italian wine list. Zachary Quinto and Keri Russell are celebrity regulars.
Bartender Tristan Brunel. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Bartender Tristan Brunel uses vintage 1960s ice crushers, which fit in great with the restaurant’s retro vibe.
Ice crushers at Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Earlier you read that Bevacco’s space was once two establishments. Well, the FDNY is forcing them to split the space again. That means Bevacco will close for as short a time as possible sometime around the end of the summer. Bevacco will re-open with its own bar and menu, but the other half will be an as yet unnamed space that is more casual and bar-centric. Peter and Kristen are also busy because they just opened a pizza place in Prospect Heights called Ogliastro. The mayor was at the opening, but there is no word on whether he used a ford and knife.

What The Owner Says To Order:
Cocktail (Brunel’s recommendation): Milano Mule (Prairie Organic Vodka, Branca Menta, mint, lime juice, Regatta ginger beer)
Milano Mule at Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Appetizer: Salmon Tartar. This is a rich dish to be shared.
Salmon Tartar at Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Entrée: Tagliatelle Nero Di Seppia (black ink tagiatelle, shrimp, artichoke, mint, and pecorino). Even if you don’t like artichokes, you’ll enjoy this. When available, the lobster ravioli is also recommended. You can taste how fresh the lobster meat is.
Tagliatelle Nero Di Seppia at Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

Lobster Ravioli at Bevacco. Photo: Evan Bindelglass

ARCHIVE DOCUMENTS: 1931 Certificate of Occupancy (PDF) 


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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 :/