Subscribe for FREE with:

Archive for the tag 'businesses'

La Casa Bella (Source: Google Maps)

La Casa Bella (Source: Google Maps)

When Superstorm Sandy struck and Gravesend Bay poured into the neighborhood, it took six days to pump the water out of La Casa Bella at 2579 Cropsey Avenue.

“[It] was very crippling. Financially, mentally, physically—it was trying,” owner Rosemary Picarello told NY1.

The business wasn’t in a Zone A flood area that required evacuation, but it got the water anyway. They were closed for a month, with the saltwater wiping out electric, plumbing, heating, restaurant equipment and supplies.

Like most small businesses, which were told to seek government-back loans, they received no financial help.

“FEMA, the state—there was no help whatsoever from them. We had to get back on our feet by ourselves, and from the support of the community and going into our own funds. That’s how we were able to reopen,” says Picarello.

Reopen they did, and now they’re celebrating 21 years in business, doling out Italian staples, seafood, pizza, heros and more.

Congratulations to our neighbors at La Casa Bella, and here’s wishing you many more!

The 86th Street Foot Locker (Source: Google Maps)

The 86th Street Foot Locker (Source: Google Maps)

martinezDanny Martinez, 21, was arrested and charged with spying on women using the bathroom of Foot Locker at 2061 86th Street, where he worked.

Martinez confessed to cops that he used his cell phone to film women in the loo, and has been charged on two counts of unlawful surveillance. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison, and is currently out on $1,000 bail.

The deed came to light when a former employee, Jackie Rico, went to use the bathroom last week and spotted a “blinking thingy” nestled on a shelf behind a dragon figurine. It was a cell phone, which she turned off and notified the supervisor of, saying she believed it was Martinez – who was exiting the bathroom as she went in, according to the Daily News.

Rico knew Martinez personally, having hired him when she was still assistant manager of the location.

Cops were called to the store on Friday. After reviewing the cell phone’s files, they found the video of Rico and another woman, the paper reports.

“My actions were really wrong,” [Rico] told the News when reached by phone. “It was a bad choice to do.”

He tried to shrug it off as fun between friends and said he had apologized to both women. He added that it was the first time he had engaged in peeping and promised it won’t happen again.

“It will be the last of it,” he said.

According to Martinez’s Facebook page, he is a graduate of New Utrecht High School.

five-guys

A Five Guys Burger and Fries will be Bensonhurst’s newest neighbor. The popular food chain in under construction and is set to open at the Ceasar’s Bay Shopping Plaza. Standing at 1608 Shore Parkway, adjacent to the new Vitamin Shoppe, the venue will boast burgers, hot dogs, and its famous zesty cajun fries.

Good news? I don’t know; I’ve never had a Five Guys burger. But the Washington Post contends that Five Guys restaurants are the “Willie Wonkas of Burgercraft,” and GQ Magazine has dubbed the food chain,“The Best $5 Burger A Man Can Eat.”

And, if you can’t wait for the bacon cheeseburgers and bottomless topping-options, have no fear. There are currently four other locations in Brooklyn — two in Dumbo, one in Prospect Heights, and one in Bay Ridge.

Happy future food coma!

Local restaurants participated in the event's launch and tasting last week at Borough Hall (Source: Kathryn Kirk/Brooklyn BP's Office)

Local restaurants participated in the event’s launch and tasting last week at Borough Hall (Source: Kathryn Kirk/Brooklyn BP’s Office)

The 11th annual Dine in Brooklyn event is set to kick off next Monday, and with $25 prix fixe dinners offered at more than 150 restaurants across the borough, foodies can pack their pie-holes with cuisines from every part of one of the nation’s most culinary diverse counties.

Over eight days beginning next week, diners can get $15 lunch and $25 dinner deals at more than 150 restaurants. The exact dates blackout restaurants’ most busy days, but those willing to go for weekday food fun will find the deals at the restaurants from Monday, October 20, to Thursday, October 23, and again from Monday, October 27, to Thursday, October 30.

A mere $25 covers prix fixe dinner menus, and most of the restaurants will offer two-for-$15 lunch menus.

Organized by the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, the event is about exposing neighbors to their local restaurants and supporting one of the borough’s most prodigious industries.

“Dine In Brooklyn celebrates the five-star flavors that make Brooklyn a ‘must-taste’ destination,” said Borough President Eric Adams in a press release. “Our restaurants fuel our borough’s economic engine, and this event is an opportunity to support their continued growth while encouraging diners to discover – or rediscover – their favorite Brooklyn dish. Most importantly, Dine In Brooklyn fosters the connections and memories that make ‘One Brooklyn’ like no place else on the globe.”

The number of Southern Brooklyn restaurants participating in 2014 has swelled a great deal from years past, with dozens now on the list. Just a few of our favorites:

  • il Fornetto (Sheepshead Bay)
  • Mill Basin Deli (Mill Basin)
  • New Ruan’s Restaurant (Bensonhurst)
  • Clemente’s Maryland Crab House (Sheepshead Bay)
  • L&B Spumoni Gardens (Gravesend)
  • Oleandr Restaurant (Brighton Beach)
  • Theresa’s Place (Dyker Heights)
  • Anatolian Gyro (Sheepshead Bay)
  • Peggy O’Neill’s (Coney Island)
  • Mama Rao Cucina Italiana (Dyker Heights)
  • Buckley’s (Marine Park)

Really, though, that’s just a sliver of the long list of truly local restaurants offering the deal, many of which we hope to try. Check out the full list here.

Which restaurants do you hope to get a taste of during Dine in Brooklyn?

noodles

Lemon Grass Beef Rice Vermicelli

The latest eatery on 86th Street, Pho & Co, opened at the beginning of September. As promised when we wrote about it back in July, we stopped by for a bite.

The restaurant describes itself as a destination for “Vietnamese street food.” That kind of had me hoping for some extraordinary, exotic treats – like this rather grotesque squab porridge. But it turns out the menu is a slimmed down, somewhat Americanized version of what you’d find at other area Vietnamese restaurants – soups (pho), sandwiches (bahn mi), and meat-over-vermicelli dishes.

While some might consider a more limited menu to be a handicap, it’s actually quite liberating to not have to look over a hundred or so options and, in a spasm of indecision, order the same darn pho you always get. Here, you come specifically for the soups, sandwiches and noodles – no distractions.

One neat thing I noticed about the menu right away is several options of summer roll. Most Vietnamese restaurants serve these with shrimp only. The shrimp is steamed, chilled, and packed into a rice wrap with vermicelli, scallions and other veggies. At Pho & Co, other options include grilled chicken, B-B-Q pork, soft shell crab and tofu.

I went for the soft shell crab, but was disappointed to learn they were out. So I settled on the B-B-Q pork ($3.95). Once you choose traif, you don’t go back, pal.

summer-roll

B-B-Q Pork Summer Roll

Minutes passed, and the B-B-Q Pork Summer Rolls arrived. Having only had shrimp summer rolls, which are cold, I was surprised when the rolls came packing in hot meat. The pork was flavorful, if a bit charred, and neatly accentuated by bits of mint rolled into the vermicelli and lettuce. The accompanying peanut dipping sauce was much saltier than I’ve had at other places, but not overwhelmingly so.

I was struck by the relative sloppiness of the wrap itself. It was done a little too long and couldn’t support its own weight, and the wrinkled folds suggest someone who’s just getting the hang of it.

Since I was there on a hot day, I declined the pho and went for the Lemon Grass Beef Rice Vermicelli ($6.50) for my entree. The short version? The beef was dry and flavorless, the noodles clumpy and unevenly cooked, and they forgot the accompanying sauce (a heavenly concoction of sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice). The pickled carrots and cabbage that came with it were pretty spectacular, though.

So with an amateur’s hand putting together the summer roll, and lemon grass beef that had little hint of lemon grass, you’d think this an unkind review, right?

Wrong. I’m actually looking forward to Pho & Co upping its game because they have everything else they need to succeed. The staff was young, energetic, friendly and incredibly helpful. They were well aware they were just starting out, and no less than three people came by my table to ask for suggestions, feedback and recommendations – two of them more than once.

What they lack in experience, they make up for in drive, and I have faith that they’ll take that feedback and put it to use. It’s true, they need to work out the kinks in the kitchen, but they’re eager to learn – and I’ve seen restaurants achieve far more with a lot less than that.

As for me, I’ll be back in a month or two to try that soft shell crab summer roll. Because where else in Bensonhurst can you get that?

Pho & Co Vietnamese Street Food, 1927 86th Street, (718) 946-8686. 

Is there a restaurant or specific dish you think we should check out? Let us know!

bensonvape

Bensonvape, a “premium vapor lounge,” will soon open at 2081 86th Street.

The business will specialize in selling “vaping” products, an expansion of e-cigarettes that turn flavored nicotine into vapor (nicotine-free versions are available). Proponents claim it’s a healthier alternative to cigarettes, and a large hobbyist community has formed around it with many stores recently opening around New York City.

The owners already maintains an active Facebook page, but has not yet announced an opening date.

It replaces Last Chance, a woman’s shoe store that closed several months ago.

Good luck to our new neighbors!

86superstar

“For rent” signs have been posted at 86 SuperStar at 2172 86th Street, less than a year after the restaurant rebranded and renovated.

It was back in December 2013 that we told you Hottest 86 had reopened as 86 SuperStar, selling all-you-can-eat sushi and shabu shabu (hot pot).

It’s a bit surprising to see it closed down, as we stopped by after the reopening to give the shabu shabu a shot. The place was packed and the staff friendly and helpful, especially in dealing with a table of hot pot novices. But competition on 86th Street is stiff, and it looks like SuperStar couldn’t cut it.

Sad to see you go, and best of luck to the owners on their future endeavors.

Photo by William P.

Photo by William P.

It looks like Aqua Blu Supper Club, an Italian restaurant at 152 Highlawn Avenue, is closed for good.

According to tipster William P., it shut its doors at the end of July and hasn’t reopened. “For rent” signs went up shortly afterwards.

The Italian restaurant sat on a rather sleepy block, adjacent to the N train subway station. The business opened up about two years ago, selling brick oven pizza and Italian fare.

The owner said goodbye on Facebook:

We wish the owner luck on their future endeavors!

pio-pio-1

Pio Pio, a family-owned chain of Peruvian eateries, brings new flavors to the neighborhood after opening a location at 282 Kings Highway.

This news is a bit late: it appears they opened at the end of May. But we only just found out, and as fans of Peruvian cooking we had to share.

It’s the first Brooklyn location, which has eight other outposts in all the boroughs except Staten Island. It grew out of the Peruvian community in Rego Park, Queens, in 1994 as a simple pollo a la brasa joint (don’t know what that is? Only the most amazing rotisserie chicken you’ll ever taste), but now offers a wide range of dishes included ceviches and staples like aji de gallina.

Pio Pio is among the city’s best known Peruvian eateries, and in just a few months the local spot has racked up some rave reviews on Yelp (four stars and 38 reviews).

We’re going to have to get over there for a bite, but until then, if you’ve been there share your experience in the comments!

The following is a paid announcement from Elite Academy of Science and Technology:

Choosing the right high school for your child can make all the difference in their future.

Public high schools focus on test preparations with overcrowded classrooms. At Elite Academy of Science and Technology, a co-ed Jewish high school, our focus is on your child’s education. Our goal is to prepare your child for college with the full knowledge of their high school curriculum. With the school year starting in the next few weeks, we encourage parents to visit the school to discuss your child’s goals.

Elite Academy is making it more affordable for Jewish parents to send their children to school with a Free Tuition Giveaway for the Fall 2014 school year!

ENTER THE RAFFLE FOR FREE TUITION NOW!

Elite Academy of Science and Technology, 2115 Benson Avenue, (718) 373-0960.

The above is a paid announcement by the Shorefront YM-YWHA (3300 Coney Island Avenue). Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Next »