Brooklyn Heights Blog » Food Dispatches from America's first suburb Thu, 30 Jun 2022 20:13:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brooklyn Barbeque Launches on Pineapple Walk Tonight! Thu, 30 Jun 2022 20:13:00 +0000

Besides fireworks, what’s synonymous with summer and the Fourth of July? Barbeque!  Tonight Chef Dimitri Likourentzos and General Manager of Park Plaza Diner is thrilled to host a “soft launch” of Brooklyn Barbeque.

“We’ll be having a limited menu starting from 5:00 pm until closing, 10:00 pm. Full bar available. And we have an exciting, brand new BBQ menu that will be featuring some panini presses and some new things…that’s in addition to what we [served] at Park Plaza.”

Brooklyn Heights’ Park Plaza Diner is a beloved family-owned business that has anchored Pineapple Walk’s retail for the better part of four decades. But, what’s lesser-known is that Chef Dimitri is a 1996 graduate of the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. And, in addition to taking over the business from his brother Nick, he is constantly working on his craft.

Between 2015 through 2018 Dimitri traveled to Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee among others seeking knowledge from the best pit masters he could find. With the installation of a smoker in the diner’s kitchen in 2019, Dimitri added BBQ to the diner’s menu. And dang was it good! His original plan was to open Brooklyn BBQ in 2020. But, Covid put the kibosh on his dream. Dimitri was happy to report the diner has recovered from the pandemic-related losses and now it’s full steam ahead!

“I’ve been working on it to eventually have this beautiful day where I finally get to have a real-deal BBQ restaurant in this location.”

Brooklyn BBQ is co-located with Park Plaza Diner on Pineapple Walk. The new restaurant has covered outdoor dining and took over what was the diner’s private back room. Dimitri designed and built most of the space himself including the hand-pouring of the bar’s concrete countertops. Brooklyn BBQ will operate as a completely separate entity from Park Plaza.  As such, the diner will no longer serve BBQ but still has lots of traditional and delicious fare.

]]> 2
Inga’s Bar Rates Rave Times Review Thu, 26 May 2022 03:55:54 +0000

Inga’s Bar, at 66 Hicks Street (corner of Cranberry) opened in March and has already received a glowing review from New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, who praises the innovative and delicious dishes emerging from its kitchen. He even lauds the cheeseburger, which your correspondent has enjoyed, calling it “a very good and unpretentious one” and noting that “the pickles are made on site.” The on line Times review, linked above, has a slide show of many of the kitchen’s creations. It also has a link to Mary Kim’s BHB story about 66 Hicks’ previous tenant, Jack the Horse Tavern, many of whose devotees, including your correspondent, may now find a home-away-from-home at Inga’s.

I went to Inga’s at five this (Wednesday) afternoon, its opening time, to congratulate the chef and owner, Sean Rembold, with whom I had enjoyed a conversation about our common loyalty to the Mets during my previous visit, without realizing who he was. He brought his floor and kitchen staffs together for a champagne toast (photo above) in celebration of their joint effort that had produced the Times review.

]]> 2
Lots of Open Streets Activity Saturday Fri, 20 May 2022 02:28:09 +0000

There will be another Open Streets Montague, sponsored by Montague BID and the Brooklyn Heights Association, this Saturday, this time with an encouraging weather forecast. There’s a schedule of activities here. They include music, raffles, lots of activities and stories for kids, from 12:30 to 2:30 PM an opportunity to learn about composting with Big Reuse and the City Department of Sanitation (come early to get a free one pound bag of compost, while they last), photos of you and your family by Marj Kleinman from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, and at 4:00 PM a free pilates workout with WundaBar (bring your own mat) for which you can sign up here.

Also on Saturday afternoon, from noon until 5:00 PM on Willow Place between Joralemon and State streets, the Willowtown Association is presenting its first Spring Fair since 2019 (the photo above, by C. Scales, is of the 2015 Spring Fair). According to reader “Willowtown Resident” the Fair will feature “Local Food – Music from the Brooklyn Bards – Bake Sale – Raffle with Prizes – Face Painters – Jump Castle – Games – and More!!!”

You have all afternoon to check them both out.

]]> 0
EEK! IT’S A GHOST… Kitchen Fri, 06 May 2022 17:27:41 +0000

DoorDash, the food delivery service, opened a “Ghost Kitchen” in Downtown Brooklyn that will be used by a number of restaurants for dine-in, delivery and pickup in the area. What’s a “Ghost Kitchen“? It’s basically a shared kitchen facility that is used by multiple restaurant brands to make their food without having to set up and run their own storefront. So, for example, the same place preparing your DOMODOMO sushi order will also be working on someone else’s Pies-N-Thighs chicken biscuits, or whatever Little Caesar thinks is pizza. It’s all the same!

DoorDash partnered with Nimbus, a ghost kitchen startup, to open the facility. It will also be open for dine-in service as well, but only fits 20 people? might as well pick up and eat at MetroTech or Cadman Plaza. The DoorDash Kitchen haunts 383 Bridge Street, so if you see a restaurant pop up in your delivery app of choice with that address, you’re seeing a ghost!

]]> 2
L’Appartement 4F is Open on Montague Wed, 04 May 2022 02:38:29 +0000

Update: See comments on this week’s Open Thread Wednesday by readers “Karateca2000″ who found the croissants “delicious” and “KD Hicks” whose baguette was “amazing — piping hot, perfect crunch on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Highly recommend!”

Your correspondent was in a hurry today walking on Montague between Henry and Hicks when he spotted this sign in a window. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to go in and at least take a sniff or to try a croissant. Whoever does, let us know, please.

Yes, that’s me in the Mets cap, reflected by the window.

]]> 1
Pierrepont Playground Egg Hunt Saturday, April 16 Sat, 09 Apr 2022 16:38:24 +0000

An Egg Hunt, organized by the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Pierrepont Playground Committee, will be this Saturday, April 16 starting at 10:30 a.m. (arrive early; there’s always a long line), at the Pierrepont Playground (entrance near Pierrepont Street and Columbia Heights). The BHA warns us that “a rogue bunny has a plan to litter Pierrepont Playground” with brightly colored eggs and that they “expect them to be filled with treats.”

There will also be a bake sale benefiting the Pierrepont Playground Committee during the Egg Hunt. If you would like to donate baked goods, you may sign up here.

Photo: The Seasonal Home.

]]> 1
Felice Opens at Former Giulia/Heights Cafe Site Tue, 18 Jan 2022 02:59:10 +0000

Once again your correspondent’s wife has been busy surveying the ‘hood while he can’t. Today she found Felice, the restaurant that took over the site of the former Giulia/Heights Café (and for those with long memories, the Promenade Restaurant) at 84 Montague Street (corner of Hicks), open for business, and got this shot of its fancy new outdoor dining enclosures. Here is their website and menu.

Prices are, as expected, on the steep side, but not astronomical. The cheapest appetizer, bruschetta, is $13. Calamari, always a favorite of ours, is only available with fried baby artichokes, at $21. I’m confused by what’s under the heading “Taglieri,” described as “Chef’s Selection of Imported Cheeses & Cured Meats”; in other words, an Italian charcuterie. “[A] selection of 2″ is priced at $27. I presume that means two meats and two cheeses, not one of each. One of 3 costs $35. Several veggie additions are available at $5 each. Assuming the plates are large enough to feed two, the prices aren’t that exorbitant.

Salads are all on the expensive side, and I’m disappointed not to find a Caesar; perhaps unknown in Tuscany. In pasta entrees I find an old favorite, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, at $24; not much more than I recall paying for it at the late, great Queen. Lasagne Traditionale is $26. Oh, yes, there’s “L’Hamburger” at $23, described as “short-rib blend, taleggio cheese, bacon, red onion confit, pickle, tomato, hand-cut French fries.” With all that, it ought to be worth it. If you’re still hungry I’ll let you peruse desserts (“Dolci” and “Gelati e Sorbetti”) yourself.

Photo: Martha Foley

]]> 24
Two New Cafés With “An Asian Twist” in Brooklyn Heights Sun, 26 Dec 2021 21:23:20 +0000

Your neighborhood blog is always excited to announce new local businesses. Here are two new cafés, one open and one soon to be open.

Sippy Café, “your neighborhood coffee shop with an Asian twist,” is now open at 153 Remsen St., the space formerly occupied by Blossom Poke Bowl. On the menu are all of the expected coffee and tea drinks, plus Sippy specials such as “black sesame latte,” “strawberry matcha latte,” and “maple hojicha latte.” Also on the menu are Asian-inspired sandwiches such as the “kani tamago” and “spicy tuna.” Check out their menu here and their Instagram account. This is the second location for this #womenownedbusiness, the first having opened in Greenpoint early this year.

Café Diem Eatery, slated to open early 2022, will be serving coffee and food for dine in and take away. Their work-in-progress website announces that espresso, bahn mi sandwiches, and gelato will be served. The location at 79 Atlantic Avenue was last home to Heights Apothecary, a space that had remained vacant for many years going almost as far back as when The Moxie Spot closed down next door in 2014.


]]> 0
Woe a Little Less: Coming to Montague St. (Updated) Sat, 04 Dec 2021 16:45:25 +0000

Now that the “drabness” of Montague St. has been exposed to all of NYC and beyond, and the community spilled its woes in this blog’s comments section in such spirited style that another blog directed its readers to it, let us look forward to less drabness with these soon-to-come offerings in the new year.

Olive + Garden Deli at 141 Montague St., formerly home to b.good, is expected to open by January/February according to Montague BID. A google search turned up no other info, but the name suggests a take out deli, if not all-you-can-eat salad and bread sticks.

Mad for Chicken at 80 Montague St., previously occupied by Teresa’s. At last estimate, the Korean fried chicken franchise with its menu that’s not just chicken will open by start of the new year.

BK Lobster at 142 Montague, where Ani Sushi used to be, with lobster rolls called “The Bed-Stuy Biggie” and “The Crown Heights Fried Lobster.” Check out the entire menu here and support this #blackownedbusiness.

Felice at 84 Montague St., the former Heights Cafe space. A sample of their expected menu:




View this post on Instagram


  A post shared by Felice Restaurants (

L’Appartement 4F, a French bakery born out of pandemic baking in a Cobble Hill apartment, has been in the works since summer. The latest update on their Instagram:

Din Soup Dumplings at 162 Montague St. above Lichee Nut and formerly Nanatori. Check out Claude’s post for efforts to unearth any details other than it’ll serve soup dumplings and a link to a lesson on how to eat said soup dumplings.

Also, from Montague BID: “We’d love your feedback about some of the points the writer and everyone interviewed brings up [in this article]. E-mail us at and let us know your thoughts.”

UPDATE: Pinto Brooklyn is no more at 128 Montague St. and is now Brooklyn Farm. The executive chef is the same Yo Teerawong Nanthavatsiri who was the chef at Pinto. Brooklyn Farm’s website and social media are not live yet, but Chef Yo made this announcement on his personal IG:

And the menu:



]]> 17
The “Mystery of Montague Street” Featured on Curbed Wed, 01 Dec 2021 00:57:05 +0000 Curbed published an interesting article on “The Mystery of Montague Street” — why does it suck? There are the usual reasons given — business owners blame the high rent, landlords blame the high taxes, the BHA and the Montague BID don’t want to blame anyone. Incoming city council member (and neighborhood son!) Lincoln Restler puts his support behind a vacancy tax. Of course, 112 Montague Street, and its totally normal, not at all out of touch with reality landlord (who may or may not be named Nathan Silverstein), are featured as well, and seem to provide a case for why a vacancy tax might not be such a bad idea:

He said he is asking $15,000 a month for the second-floor space and “more than double that for the ground floor.”

“When Starbucks first closed, I had all the restaurants call, like Armando’s. But I’m holding out for a triple-mint tenant.”

But there’s a quote I would like to highlight, from Lassen & Hennigs co-owner Thomas Calfa:

This is a bedroom community for Manhattan, and it always has been. That’s never changed. People around here will basically stay in Manhattan and do their clothing shopping and go to restaurants. It’s maybe shifting a little bit, but it’s always been like that since the 1970s.

Do Brooklyn Heights residents still feel this way about their neighborhood, 40 years later? Or do residents “stay in Manhattan” because the local options are so mediocre and bleak? And how much has that changed since the pandemic struck? Is it odd that this argument is made concerning Montague Street, but doesn’t seem to apply to more bustling “commercial” streets in the area (Henry Street, Atlantic Avenue), or Cobble Hill?

Be sure to read the Curbed article before answering!

]]> 34
Storefront Developments Around Brooklyn Heights Mon, 25 Oct 2021 03:07:17 +0000

It appears that the space formerly occupied by Nanatori, above Lichee Nut on Montague near Clinton, will be taken by another Chinese restaurant, Din; this one specializing in soup dumplings, noodle dishes, and dim sum. Thinking it might be part of a chain, I did a web search for “Din soup dumplings.” This yielded a Grub Hub page for Din Tai Soup Dumplings, located on College Point Boulevard in Flushing. It offers soup dumplings, dim sum, and Japanese dishes, and gets only a two star rating on Grub Hub. I’m guessing – hoping – the new Montague Street place is unrelated. I also found a link to Din Tai Fung, a chain based in Taiwan, but its only U.S. locations are on the West Coast and Vegas. It’s possible, then, that “Din” on Montague will be a one off, at least at first. If you’re wondering how to eat soup dumplings, Gothamist has a video.

Elsewhere on Montague, something seems to be happening at the long vacant, since well before the pandemic, former Vegetarian Ginger space, above Pinto at the corner of Henry. It’s hard to tell what, though. Many spots remain vacant. Largest are the former Loft and Pain Quotidien spaces in the same building at Montague and Henry. Others include the former B.Good space between Custom House and Grand Canyon, the former Francesca’s space, both former Café Buon Gusto spaces, the former hair salon space above Montague Street Bagels, the former Ani Sushi space, the former real estate office (before that Housing Works, which after some time was able to relocate further east on Montague) between Khiel’s and Haagen-Dazs, and one or two others that I’m sure some of you can mention (I can’t recall what previously occupied the space on the south side of Montague about halfway between Henry and Clinton where a chair sits in the sheltered entranceway that is frequently occupied by Bill, erstwhile waiter at Capulet’s on Montague (a name now taken by a hair salon) that had occupied what became the first Café Buon Gusto spot, almost directly across the street. The former Starbuck’s space, next to Lassen & Hennigs (which suffered a cracked window today in what may have been an unsuccessful attempt at a smash-and-grab cake robbery), remains unoccupied until God-knows-when.

Good news for caffeine addicts: Brooklyn Roasting Company is planning a new Brooklyn Heights location on the Clinton Street side of the new One Clinton building.

Possibly bad news for tea, scones, and Lewis Carroll addicts: as the New York Times reports (link thanks to BHB friend Andrew Porter), the owners of Alice’s Tea Cup are looking to sell the business, with locations on the Upper West and Upper East sides of Manhattan as well as at Hicks and Middagh streets in Brooklyn Heights, with hopes for a new owner who will be able to carry on the business more or less as is.

]]> 14
Community Fridge Grand Re-opening Tomorrow. Sat, 02 Oct 2021 23:19:23 +0000

In June we reported the opening of the Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge, located at 124 Henry Street, next to the First Presbyterian Church, between Clark and Pierrepont. Tomorrow – Sunday, October 3 – at 12:30 PM there will be a “Plug In” event for the newly decorated (see photo) fridge. The brownstone themed decor is by Denton Burrows and Jonathan Neville of Dripped On Productions, and the fridge continues to inhabit the shelter designed by Brooklyn architect James Koster. Rev. Adriene Thorne, Senior Minister of the First Presbyterian Church said:

At the heart of my ministry is the creation of spaces where all are loved and fed. The Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge fills stomachs, but it does so much more. It teaches lessons about what it means for neighbors to love neighbors. It reminds us that hunger doesn’t look like what we think it does. It invites us to believe that everyone, regardless of age, wealth, or background, can be both giver and receiver. Our community fridge not only feeds hungry neighbors, it builds community.

The sign on the door lists rules on labeling of contributions, no raw meat or leftovers, etc.

]]> 0
Atlantic Antic This Sunday Tue, 28 Sep 2021 22:13:19 +0000

The 46th annual Atlantic Antic, a street fair that stretches along Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, will be held this Sunday, October 3 from noon until 6:00 PM, rain or shine. Local merchants will be represented, with special deals for the occasion, along with food, music, dancers, visual artists, clothing vendors, and fun sites for kids. There’s a schedule and official program here. It’s sponsored by the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation.

]]> 3
Latest Montague Restaurant Rumblings Mon, 30 Aug 2021 03:42:12 +0000

The scuttlebutt is that the Teresa’s site, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, will become a Korean restaurant. If so, I welcome it. My limited experiences of Korean cuisine to date have been pleasing. I’ve yet to try kimchi, which I suspect is somewhere in my wheelhouse of spicy and sour. If I do my wife, who has a very sensitive nose, may take exception. I saw lights on in the restaurant space on Friday, which indicates something may be going on, if not just a fire inspection.

Giulia has closed, but there are no signs of transition, like paper over windows or construction permits. Since the site is being taken over by a chain of Italian restaurants, perhaps all that is needed is a new sign and name on the awning.

Otherwise, the Montague restaurant scene is mixed. Our two Thai restaurants, Lantern and Pinto, along with the pan-Asian and cleverly named (if you’re old enough to remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In) Saketumi, and the Chinese Lichee Nut, are still going strong, but two Japanese restaurants, Ani Sushi and Nanatori, are no more, and the former Vegetarian Ginger space above Pinto has been vacant for years. The Custom House treats us to memories of the Auld Sod, and the reborn Grand Canyon keeps turning out its fine burgers, as does the Happy Days Diner. Grand Canyon also does Mexican, but its across the street rival, San Blas, appears to be defunct. The Good Food spot stays vacant. Nothing can kill Chipotle. Both of the former venues of Café Buon Gusto remain empty. Monty Q’s keeps on keeping on. The former Subway sandwich place remains empty. One ice cream place, the world’s first Haagen-Dazs shop, remains open, but the former Emack & Bolio’s space is vacant, although a French patisserie may be moving in there.

]]> 16
Arrivederci, Giulia! Sun, 15 Aug 2021 17:26:37 +0000

We hardly knew you! Word is that the restaurant, formerly the Heights Café, has been sold, though we don’t yet know to whom. It opened just under three months ago, and will close at the end of this week. We’re told that Dellarocco’s, which has the same ownership as Giulia, has not been been sold and will continue to make pizza.

]]> 25
Le French Tart Deli To Open in Brooklyn Heights Fri, 13 Aug 2021 12:22:51 +0000

Le French Tart Deli, a Franco-focused bakery/bodega, will open at 44 Henry St. next month, taking over the space vacated by Cardinal Mkt which opened and quickly closed during the pandemic. The deli promises to offer French imported products, fresh baked goods, fromage, and charcuterie.

This is owner Laurent Chavenet’s third French Tart in Brooklyn, the first two locations having opened in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. According to a piece in Frenchly (a blog for Francophiles), Chavenet, the grandson of a French grocer, was the chef at Montrachet restaurant in Manhattan before opening his first French Tart on Staten Island in 2001. The Bklyner also covered the opening of the location in Park Slope, which is more boulangerie than deli.

Follow @lefrenchtartdelihenry on Instagram.



]]> 6
“Night Out” Presented by 84th Precinct Community Council Tuesday Fri, 30 Jul 2021 00:46:55 +0000

This coming Tuesday evening, August 3, starting at 4:30 PM, the 84th Precinct Community Council will present “National Night Out” at Pier Five’s Picnic Peninsula featuring free:

Food, beverages, snacks, ice cream.
Cell Phone, Bicycle & scooter registration.
Live music, games, and more!
Performances by The Gowanus Wildcats and
P.S 307 Brooklyn Diamonds Drill Teams.
COVID-19 vaccinations will be available on site.

For the elderly and disabled, transportation will be provided. To reserve your transportation seat call 718- 875- 6850 as soon as possible.

]]> 0
Caffe Buon Gusto Closed? It’s Probably Just Temporary Tue, 20 Jul 2021 00:48:16 +0000

Update: reader Andrew Porter has confirmed that Caffe Buon Gusto is moving to 72 Clark Street, evidently to the space previously occupied by Tazza. It seems the owner did decide that one Italian restaurant on Montague was enough.

A neighbor alerted me to paper covering the windows at Caffe Buon Gusto, so I rushed to 132 Montague Street (between Henry and Clinton) and got this photo. Note the sign that says “We’re Open” and the lack of anything thanking us for our years of patronage. Back home, I checked their website, which is up and functioning. I clicked on “Make a Reservation”, then on “Find a Table”, and got this message:

This restaurant is temporarily offline. Please contact the restaurant directly or check back shortly for availability.

I tried calling Buon Gusto’s phone number. It rang and rang, with no recorded message. For now, I can just presume that Buon Gusto is undergoing an interior makeover, and that its owner has not decided, following the opening of Giulia, formerly Heights Café, that one Italian restaurant on Montague is enough. Perhaps, though, just as the papering over of Heights Café’s windows betokened its transformation into Giulia, this papering foretells Buon Gusto’s transformation into – a Persian restaurant, or maybe an Argentinian steakhouse.

Time will tell.

]]> 13
Farewell to Jack the Horse Tavern: An Interview with Tim Oltmans and Micki Schubert Wed, 30 Jun 2021 03:02:08 +0000

On 6/6/2006, at 66 Hicks St., a new restaurant opened in Brooklyn Heights. Jack the Horse Tavern was its name. Tim Oltmans was its chef and owner, along with his wife and business partner Micki Schubert. Soon after opening, locals crowded the bar at happy hour and sipped cocktails called long bottom bramble and behind the knees. Sunday brunch became legendary and always packed, with the celebrated eggs orleans and the famous grilled JtH burger on the menu.

It was a place for first dates. It was where you took your parents visiting from out-of-town. It was for weeknight dinners and celebrations. It was casual, classic, and cozy. It was quintessential Brooklyn Heights. It was our neighborhood tavern.

With news that a new chef/owner was handed the keys last month, it is time for a proper reminiscence and farewell to JtH. And for that, we present a Q&A with Tim done over Zoom, with Micki off camera to help fill in dates and facts, from their new home in Park Slope.

How did you get your start in the restaurant business?

Well, I’ll try to keep it short. I’ve always had an interest in cooking. And it was the encouragement of Micki, my wife of [to Micki, “how many years now?”]… 29 years. I met Micki at her cousin’s wedding, and we started a long distance relationship with me in Minnesota and Micki in New Jersey. When Micki’s company transferred her to Minnesota, we lived together for a while. I was working as a mechanical engineer at the time, and I expressed to Micki that I was kind of losing interest in it. And she said, “Well, I’m going to be transferred back to New Jersey” and we talked about me moving with her. And I said, “Well, what am I going to do there?” And she said, “You’ll cook.”

I then took some professional cooking classes, because the danger is your hobby may not be what you want to do full-time. But I was into it, I really enjoyed it. So, I quit my job of 15 years and moved out east with Micki and went to the French Culinary Institute in [asks Micki, “what year was that?”]… 1991 and graduated first in my class. I then got an internship through the Institute and met a fellow by the name of Jean-Marc Burillier, who was opening a restaurant on the upper east side with his friends, Jean-Luc Andriot and Jean-Louis Dumonet. And that turned out to be Trois Jean, a fantastic French bistro, serving really great, traditional stuff. So I said to Jean-Marc, “You’ve gotta hire me, I don’t have any bad habits!” Then I helped them get the place open and it was such a great experience. Those guys were like family to me. And that’s how I got started.

How did JtH do when it first opened in 2006?

Well, we had Damon Dyer as our bartender, who was very much into the rising cocktail culture that was happening. He got us on the map a bit, because there was such interest in cocktails at the time. And there really was no other place anywhere within miles doing really great cocktails. So we did well. By the way, Damon met his wife Jenny while working at the bar. They eventually got married at the JtH bar and also had their reception there. And now, they live across the street.

How did JtH get its name?

I grew up in Minnesota and there’s a lake there called Jack the Horse. My dad, brothers, and I would go fishing up there. After our parents passed away, we were at their house settling their estate, when we found all these slides of photos that our dad took. And we were sitting around looking at the slides and laughing at ourselves. There was this one slide of my brother and me in a canoe, and Micki asked, “Where was that?” And we said, “That’s Jack the Horse lake!” And Micki said, “That’s it. That’s what we’re calling the restaurant, Jack the Horse Tavern.” We all liked the name because it was catchy, not kitschy, but catchy. Because there are so many restaurant names that are inscrutable, like what does that mean, how do we remember that name? So, the name Jack the Horse Tavern comes from my personal history and memories.

What were your personal favorite dishes at JtH?

Well, I’m sure everybody wants to say the mac & cheese, which was very popular. And honestly, it was really good. But there were quite a number of things I learned from working at Trois Jean with Jean-Louis Dumonet, and at Gramercy Tavern with Tom Colicchio, and at Tabla with Floyd Cardoz. We did the best duck confit of anybody within miles and miles. Our cassoulet, which I learned from Jean-Louis, was the best and so traditional. I loved those kinds of French dishes we were doing. And I really enjoyed the brunches. We developed these gluten-free pancakes, though gluten-free is not my thing. But it really was delicious, and people loved the gluten-free option. It was made with buckwheat and had this great, rich, savory flavor. And I still get emails from people asking for the recipe, which frankly is kind of a pain in the ass.

Well, why don’t you just share it with the blog and you won’t have to answer every email?

[Laughs]. (See recipe below.)

Would you share your recipe for your mac & cheese too?

Sure, I have a home version that I offer to people. What we did at the restaurant was way more complicated than what people would want to do at home. But you can get really close to it with the right kind of cheeses. So it’s already out there, actually I shared it for Dan Pashman’s book, Eat More Better, and I’ll share it with your readers. (See recipe below.)

What were a few of the most challenging aspects of running a restaurant in NYC?

[Sighs]. We had a difficult relationship with the fire department, and I don’t mean the guys on Middagh, those guys are great. They loved us and we loved them. But the main fire department’s inspectors, who would come in and find new violations for the same stuff every time. There were a couple of times they came in while I wasn’t there, and they just terrorized my sous chef. Honestly, we spent thousands and thousands of dollars on summonses and court costs, and it was relentless. And of course, the health department, although not as mean as the fire department, found violations for things that had not changed one bit in 15 years. We tried all kinds of different tactics to cope, like having a doorbell buzzer at the front desk so that when they walked in, they could buzz us in the kitchen. That was all the very challenging aspects of running a restaurant, in addition to taxes and filings for this and filings for that. I think for people who operate a number of restaurants, they have a system and handle those things much better than first timers with just one restaurant.

What are you and Micki doing now as retirees?

Micki is freelancing with the Brooklyn Eagle, proofreading and some editing of a number of articles every day, working with the managing editor there. I’m doing no-knead bread. I’m also putting together some food and restaurant-related articles for possible publication in the Brooklyn Eagle. I don’t have plans to get back in the restaurant industry, because I have some physical limitations and heart issues. Maybe on a consulting basis, but nothing really in the works at this point.

Have you been in touch with Sean Rembold, the chef/owner who’s taking over the JtH space?

I’ve been in contact with him a couple of times just to discuss the ins and outs of the space, only because we built it from the ground up. There was literally nothing there when we started. There was only a sink and a toilet. So I’ve been able to offer some advice about working with Landmarks and the community boards, and also on all the mechanics of the space.

Do you know if the new owner intends on keeping the beautiful façade intact?

Well, he has to because of Landmarks (Preservation Commission), unless he wants to go through the whole approval process. And I have to tell you, that was the most difficult aspect of the design process. We went back and forth many, many times, and spent hours and hours in the Landmarks’ offices. I don’t know if you ever noticed that the inside of the door is red. The reason is that I wanted the outside of the door painted red, like the door at the vet’s across the street. But Landmarks said no. So, I painted the inside of the door red, and in the summertime, when the door was open, I had my red door.

Some restaurants survived the pandemic and others didn’t in the neighborhood and throughout the City. What factors would you say made it impossible for JtH to continue?

It was a number of things. We had been struggling a bit for the last couple of years before the pandemic. We were starting to feel the pressure of trying to keep up with the higher minimum wage. As a maturing business, more things needed to be repaired. Rent, of course, goes up every year, as do electricity, gas, and food costs. So, it felt like we were falling behind and then suddenly, it was announced that we had to close. And we had no idea how long we’d have to be closed. We were in the process of trying to catch up, and how could we do that if we’re closed for months and months. So, we had talked about retirement here and there, and that forced our hand to make the decision. We did start a gofundme, and some of that blew up in our faces. But we got so many supportive emails and messages from former employees. Anyway, it turned out we were able to provide all our staff with a nice chunk of cash, their monthly metrocards, and payment for all their hours. But we just weren’t going to be able to sustain it.

Where is your staff now?

A couple of our front-of-the-house employees moved out of NYC. Jason, the waiter who was with us for many years, moved to the Carolinas. Sean also moved away. A couple others moved back home with mom and dad. Gustavo Pineda, I guess you could call him a porter, but he did everything; washed dishes, fixed things, kept the place cleaned up and organized. We couldn’t have functioned without him. He was such a great guy. Gustavo moved upstate where he had family, since he couldn’t afford an apt in the City anymore. I hope he landed well up there.

Reflecting back on the years at JtH, what will you remember the most?

One of the things that really became so interesting to me was our interactions with our guests. I’ve worked at many restaurants, but I never interacted with the guests. I was never a server or worked the front of the house. When we opened JtH, it was the most gratifying thing to talk to the guests and see what they like, and try to make them happy, and give them great service. It was something that I really didn’t anticipate when we were looking to open a restaurant. And it was great to be a neighborhood restaurant, and it is such a great neighborhood. We loved being there.

And I won’t forget the regulars. There were quite a few that were quirky, for sure. But there were some that just, oh my god, I can’t tell you how much I miss them. There was a couple who lived in Kentucky and had an apt. on Willow St., Mary and Ed Culbertson. On their drive up from Kentucky, they would call and say, “Hey, we’re coming into town, can we have our favorite table?” And I made sure they had their table by the side door. Then there was a couple we called “the architects,” Michael and Miriam, who live on Remsen, I think. There was also another couple we did a wedding reception for, way back in the first year we opened, Carol and Jeff Talon. And they came back every year on their anniversary. We just loved seeing them. There were a number of guests who just put a smile on my face, and the front desk would always let me know when they came in. That is one of the things that I will truly miss the most.



Jack the Horse Tavern’s
Macaroni & Cheese
Makes 4

1 pt      Potato Cream (See Below)
12 oz    Grated Cheese (8 oz smoked Gouda & 4 oz Fontina)
20 oz   Cooked Cavatappi Pasta or Elbow Macaroni
1 Tbs    Dijon Mustard
¼ C     Toasted Panko Bread Crumbs


1.   Gently heat potato cream.
2.   Add cheese, stir until melted.
3.   Add pasta & mustard, stir until heated.
4.   Fill baking dishes* and sprinkle on bread crumbs.
5.   Bake at 400ºF for 6 minutes (if making ahead, bake for 8 – 10 minutes when ready to serve).

Potato Cream

1 pt       Heavy cream
½ C      Grated potato
¼ tsp   Grated nutmeg

Heat all ingredients, stirring frequently until thickened, 15 minutes or so. Strain out and discard grated potato. The liquid that is left is like béchamel (roux and cream). This process washes the starch off of the potato to thicken the cream and absorb the fat from the melted cheese.

*Individual baking dishes are best and not too deep or it will take too long to heat and the fat may separate.


Jack the Horse Tavern’s
Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes

12C Buckwheat Flour*
12C Gluten Free Flour*
24tsp Baking Powder
12tsp Baking Soda
2 1/25Tbsp Sugar
24tsp Salt
36C buttermilk
36oz Butter, melted
1/21tsp Xanthan Gum*


  1.   Sift dry ingredients in mixing bowl, mix well.
  2.   In a separate bowl lightly beat eggs, add buttermilk then the melted butter and mix to combine.
  3.   Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined – small lumps will cook out.


• This batter is quite thick so you may have to add a bit more buttermilk (or whole milk).
• They should fluff up nicely but will take some time to cook so make sure your (Teflon) pan is not too hot.
• When the pancakes are ready, they will be springy when you press them with your finger.
• Don’t make the pancakes too big or they will be hard to flip over.
• Starred items are from Bob’s Red Mill, available in most grocery stores:
o Organic Buckwheat Flour
o Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
o Xanthan Gum (try to find it in a small package, a little goes a long way)







]]> 12
To-Go Alcohol Is Over, With Some Help From Michael-Towne? Thu, 24 Jun 2021 22:02:10 +0000 Alcohol “to-go” service from restaurants and bars is forbidden again, perhaps in part due to pressure from a liquor store trade group — headed by the owner of Michael-Towne Wine And Spirits — that viewed it as cutting into their business.

Since March of last year, licensed restaurants and bars were given the permission to offer the takeout and delivery of alcoholic drinks under a 30-day executive order that had been renewed every month throughout the COVID-19 “State of Emergency”. With the lifting of that state of emergency, the order has expired, and non-beer-delivery alcohol sales are once again against the law. The NYS legislature failed to pass any bill that would expressly permit licensed restaurants and bars to offer “to-go” alcohol sales before the end of its recent legislative session. The NYS Assembly bill is currently languishing in committee.

According to The Albany Times-Union, one trade group in particular, the Metro Package Store Association, was quite strenuous in their opposition to the bill being acted upon:

It distributed a call to action last week that included a sample letter that member businesses could modify and send to their legislators. It states flat opposition to enacting takeout alcohol into law and direly predicts that allowing bottles for takeout from restaurants would “destroy our business,” although that measure was removed from the bills before the MPSA letter was sent out.

In addition to that, the letter claimed that restaurants and bars were “well on their way to recovery”, and that liquor stores were at a disadvantage, since most close at 9pm.

The Executive Director of the Metro Package Store Association is Michael A. Correra, who also owns local liquor store Michael-Towne Wine And Spirits (hours currently 11am-9pm, 12pm-6pm on Sundays). Its Board of Directors also includes Matthew LaSorsa of Heights Chateau Wine And Spirits. So whether you are for or against “to-go” alcohol service, now you know who to thank!

]]> 12
Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge: Take What You Need, Leave What You Don’t Sun, 20 Jun 2021 16:04:48 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge is up and running to feed the hungry and serve as a hub of giving and caring in the neighborhood. We spoke with Rev. Adriene Thorne of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, whose outreach to the community made it all possible.

The idea for the community fridge came from Darryahn Knight, who was my daughter’s babysitter and who went on to found a community organization, Dwntown Friendly. Darryahn mentioned that there were over 100 of these refrigerators spread out in NYC. There’s one in nearby Gowanus. So I went on the Nextdoor app and asked for help with installing one here in Brooklyn Heights. The response was overwhelming from either people with resources or those who wanted to donate whatever they could through Venmo or Paypal. People offered to pay for the fridge. Folks from Brooklyn Heights Synogogue and Plymouth Church offered help. And a parent at Packer, Jenny Hunter, was instrumental in getting the project off the ground. Jenny connected us with an architect and contractor to build a gate house for the fridge. The effort was so impressive. The architect even came with color swatches to make sure that the structure fit the look of the neighborhood.

The level of creativity and generosity has me excited about our community. Brooklyn Heights isn’t necessarily a churched neighborhood, where everyone is part of a worship community. But it is a good-hearted and resourceful neighborhood. People want to help if the opportunities are presented. Jenny and I have discussed the fridge being sort of a neighborhood water cooler, where people can hang out and where we can host justice projects, or crafts projects for kids, and other community events. Children at Packer and St. Ann’s will help clean occasionally and run food drives for the fridge. I’ve been involved in many projects through our church over the years, but this one feels like the biggest accomplishment and most dear to my heart. I so appreciate everyone who helped, and everyone who has or will donate to the fridge.

Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge at 124 Henry Street

Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge at 124 Henry Street

Rev. Adriene Thorne Pitching Donation Ideas with an Employee of a Local Business

Rev. Adriene Thorne Pitching Donation Ideas to An Employee of a Local Business

It Started With A Sketch

It Started With A Sketch

And a Lot of Labor from Volunteers

And a Lot of Labor from Volunteers

Even the Little Ones Helped

Even the Little Ones Helped

And a Happy Crew (Just Some of the Volunteers) After It was All Done

And a Happy Crew (Just Some of the Volunteers) After It was All Done

Donation Suggestions:

  • Fresh produce.
  • New eggs, milk, and cheese in store packaging with expiration dates.
  • Fully cooked store-bought or home-cooked meals with clear labels.
  • Label any prepared food with name of dish, date cooked, and any allergens.

Please no raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

Donate at 124 Henry St. adjacent to First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn and follow on Instagram @brooklynheightscommunityfridge. (Last 4 photos courtesy Instagram posts.)

]]> 2
New Owner, New Chef for Jack the Horse Space Tue, 25 May 2021 03:02:07 +0000

Our friends at the Brooklyn Heights Association have advised us that Chef Sean Rembold will be taking charge of the kitchen at the former Jack the Horse Tavern, at Hicks and Cranberry streets. Chef Rembold has twice been nominated for the James Beard Foundation award as best New York City chef. From his website:

Originally a Kentucky native, Sean moved to New York City to attend the French Culinary Institute. After cooking in the kitchens of Campagna, Osteria del Circo, and Bayard’s, Sean found his personal and professional fit in Williamsburg, the neighborhood he has called home since 1999. He lives there with his wife, designer Caron Callahan, and their daughter.

Despite his fondness for Williamsburg, the BHA website says:

Sean loves Brooklyn Heights and reached out to the BHA a few months ago about helping him find a suitable location. Of course, we were glad to help! We’ll keep you informed as plans move forward.

We checked out the websites of the three Williamsburg restaurants at which he served as chef. One, Reynard, no longer exists. Marlow and Sons (follow the Instagram link below the “Order Online” link) and Diner, have menus that look interesting, though a notch more expensive than JTH’s.

The menus at whatever the name JTH gets under its new ownership may be quite different, as may the prices. We hope that the menu will in some way reflect the spirit of the JTH menu – dare we hope that the mac & cheese appetizer will be revived? – and that the prices will be within reach of most Heights residents; not just the most affluent ones.

]]> 11
Heights Café Becomes Giulia Mon, 17 May 2021 14:26:31 +0000

What was the Heights Café, at Montague and Hicks streets, will re-open soon as Giulia, a restaurant featuring Italian specialties, and more closely tied to its next door neighbor under the same ownership, Dellarocco’s. We’ve heard, thanks to a neighbor who asked, that the burgers for which Heights Café was known will still be on the menu. You can sign on to Giulia’s mailing list here.

]]> 21
Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar Reopens! Sat, 24 Apr 2021 00:12:34 +0000

Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar reopened today after a hiatus during the frigid months. Early in the evening, the sun was shining and sidewalk seats were bustling. Inside, a few tables were occupied by patrons who all happened to be silver foxes with their silver-locked dates. Fully vaxxed life is good!

Wine Bar 1

The Wine Bar’s hours will be Tuesday to Friday – 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday – noon to midnight.

Meanwhile, a few doors down, Cardinal Mkt has raised the white flag, undone by an unfortunate March 2020 open date which was delayed to the summer. Cardinal Mkt opened for a few months, then abruptly closed as the cold weather set in. Sad news as the food was quite good and the storefront attractive.

What would you like to see in its place? Comment away!

Cardinal Mkt



]]> 1
Gage & Tollner Re-opens for Indoor Dining Thursday Mon, 12 Apr 2021 03:52:41 +0000

As reported by Kevin Duggan in the Brooklyn Paper, the legendary downtown restaurant Gage & Tollner, at 372 Fulton Street, under new ownership and with a new kitchen and floor crew, will resume indoor dining, with customers limited to half capacity, this Thursday, April 15. Before it closed in 2004, G&T had been a favorite of many Brooklyn Heights residents, including your correspondent, who had his first dinner there in 1973, long before he moved to Brooklyn, and his last not long before it closed.

It was with some trepidation that I examined the new menu. I knew that re-creating the G&T menu I knew from before, with its multiplicity of clam, oyster, and other seafood preparations, would be, if not impossible, at least off-putting to today’s attention span challenged customers as well as burdensome to kitchen staff. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had managed to include, along with the expected raw clam and oyster appetizers, a “soft clam belly broil” (definitely old G&T), along with oysters Rockefeller, and an intriguing newcomer called “clams Kimsino,” which features bacon and kimchi. I wish they could have included one of the old G&T oyster panroasts; perhaps they will in time. A welcome carry-over from G&T’s last incarnation, when the chef was Edna Lewis, who brought elements of Carolina-Georgia Low Country cuisine, is she-crab soup.

Seafood entrees are Spanish mackerel, whole broiled porgy, shrimp Scampi, and monkfish Barigoule. There’s fried chicken and roasted chicken breast, and a pork pot pie. For non-carnivores there’s “twice-cooked cauliflower steak.” Like the old G&T, there’s a selection of beef, veal, and pork steaks and chops.

At the risk of the new owners dismissing me as a “Gage & Tollner superfan,” I have to put a word in for one dish from the old menu I wish they could revive. That’s Crabmeat a la Dewey, my most frequent order at the old G&T, and even available during the Edna Lewis period. It’s a very rich, and admittedly, I’m sure, not cholesterol reduction friendly, preparation of crabmeat in a cream sauce with green peppers, pimento, and cheese. I had assumed, given the restaurant’s late 19th century origin, that it was named in honor of Admiral Dewey, hero of the Battle of Manila Bay. I later read that it was probably named for the restaurant’s managers at the time, who were brothers named Dewey. At least I have the recipe, but my wife is allergic to green peppers. C’mon guys, you can do it!

Update: Kevin Duggan in the Brooklyn Paper has a story on G&T’s opening yesterday.

Photo: Steven J via Wikimedia Commons. Used with permission.

]]> 0
“A Novel Kitchen” Opens on Atlantic Avenue Tue, 09 Mar 2021 04:12:19 +0000

A new combination café and used book and record store, A Novel Kitchen, has opened at 151 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Henry streets, on the Brooklyn Heights side. Their menu features a wide variety of dishes suitable for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, combining influences of many different cuisines. IMG_4649Vinyl records, CDs, and DVDs are in the case at the center of this photo, with books in the case at the rear. There is another, much larger bookcase to the right, not in the photo.IMG_4650Here is their dining area.

]]> 11
Cuomo: Indoor Restaurant Dining OK Starting Friday Mon, 08 Feb 2021 19:28:40 +0000

The Daily News reports that Governor Cuomo, who previously announced that indoor dining at restaurants, subject to a 25% capacity restriction and social distancing, as well as to a 10:00 p.m. curfew, could resume on Valentine’s Day, February 14; this coming Sunday. Apparently in response to pleas from restaurant owners that they be allowed to open for the entire weekend, along with declining COVID numbers, the Governor has advanced the date for indoor dining to resume to this coming Friday, February 12.

]]> 2
The Results Are In: BHA’s Future of Montague Street Survey Wed, 03 Feb 2021 02:39:11 +0000

The Brooklyn Heights Association recently called for community input on the future of Montague Street, and the survey results are in. BHA promises to use the 1,381 responses “to support the creation of a vibrant and successful Montague Street,” while working with community members, local real estate brokers, and the Montague Street Business Improvement District.

Some highlights from the survey:

1.  Survey respondents want a different retail mix on Montague. Specifically, 80% asked for a bookstore, followed closely by new restaurants and/or cafes. Many would also like to see new types of fresh food establishments, like a butcher, a fishmonger, and a bakery.

2.  Most survey respondents (over 60%) want a greater prioritization of pedestrians/bikes on Montague Street, with more outdoor dining, shopping and seating, along with music and events to bring a more “neighborhood feel” to the street.

3.  Many respondents noted that they currently go elsewhere (DUMBO, Cobble Hill, etc.) to shop and dine. This “retail leakage” could be addressed by bringing more unique and desirable options to Montague Street.

See the complete survey results here.

What’s your wishlist for zhuzhing up Montague Street? Comment below!



]]> 13
Cuomo Opens Indoor Dining Starting Valentine’s Day Sat, 30 Jan 2021 03:14:35 +0000

Will the Heights Cafe be open again on February 14? Governor Cuomo announced today that restaurants in New York City will be allowed to open for indoor dining, at 25% capacity, beginning Sunday, February 14. As the linked Gothamist article points out, reaction to this announcement, from both public health authorities and restaurant owners, has been mixed. Still, it’s something to which we can look forward.

]]> 1
Heights Cafe To Close Temporarily Mon, 25 Jan 2021 14:09:08 +0000

Chilly weather, along with the ban on indoor dining, have caused the Heights Cafe (photo) at Hicks and Montague streets, to close temporarily starting tomorrow (Tuesday, January 26), pending either warmer weather that will facilitate outdoor dining, or removal of the indoor dining ban. As the New York Times noted on Saturday, diners at the Heights Cafe’s outdoor tables have been ordering “soups and hot toddies.”

]]> 2