Archive for the 'Business' Category

Tsob Tsobe! at Coney Island Avenue

Tsob Tsobe! at 2817 Coney Island Avenue

It was with great dismay that we noticed Back to USSR pulling down its signs over the summer, after two years in business. The kitschy, Soviet-themed restaurant at 2817 Coney Island Avenue was a great place to bring people from outside of Sheepshead Bay, pulling back the curtain a bit on the area’s Russian-speaking cultures with a tongue planted firmly in-cheek.

But the storefront didn’t stay empty long. Some time in the past few weeks Tsob-Tsobe! took its place, declaring itself a”cafe lounge bar.” They redid the entire storefront, interior and exterior. Unlike its predecessor, which elevated the atmosphere with a large statue of Vladimir Lenin with kielbasa in hand, Tsob-Tsobe! is tastefully decorated and is earning kudos from Yelpers.

The online directory says it’s serving Mediterranean, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, but we’ve learned that with local restaurants, that could mean Turkish, or it could mean the menu is a smorgasbord of Turkish, Uzbeki and Russian foodstuffs. With their website not yet built and no menu available online, we’ll just have to wait to visit to find out.

As for the name? We’re having trouble tracking down its provenance. Some Googling suggests it’s something Cossack cowboys yelled at their cattle, or farmers upon receiving a good harvest – but we can’t say for sure. Anybody able to fill us in?


After a blitz of independent and local chain frozen yogurt joints opening up in Sheepshead Bay these last few years, national franchise Red Mango has staked out a location on Kings Highway.

Located at 1222 Kings Highway, it’s the second Red Mango to open in Southern Brooklyn (the first is in Bensonhurst), and the fourth in the borough.

The storefront looks small, but opens up to a larger space and upstairs dining area once inside. Employees told Sheepshead Bites that the business began serving frozen treats to customers on November 13.

Updated (November 26): The original version of this article erroneously said that Scott Jewelers, which once operated out of the current Red Mango space, had closed. It’s actually two doors down at 1220 Kings Highway, and doing better than ever:


We regret the confusion our error caused, and offer our apologies to Scott Jewelers for any inconvenience.

A previous update made the correction moments after publishing, but we’re revising this notice to make it even clearer.


Sheepshead Bay has a new, fully stocked beer and beverage center, offering wholesale prices on beer to the public.

The Beer & Beverage Discount Center at 3769 Nostrand Avenue has been open since September, but the business finally received its beer license on Friday. As of this Monday, shelves are now filled with foreign and domestic suds, including a number of hard-to-find craft brews and imports.

The shop is the brain child of two Sheepshad Bay business veterans: Konstantin Urman, co-owner of Eye Appeal (1508 Sheepshead Bay Road), and Tommy Grupman, who ran Pravda Media on Coney Island Avenue before turning it into an online-only business.

Grupman said the idea came after searching high and low through Southern Brooklyn for something to meet his discerning tastes.

“Personally, I could not find a beer store with wide variety and reasonable prices. I asked around and searched on Google and could not find any [in the area],” said Grupman.

The business also sells non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and candies, as well as kegs and party supplies.

And as for that news blogger in your community? Well, they have gift buckets, too. Hanukkah is just around the corner is all I’m sayin’.


Photo by Bob De Thomas

Emmons Avenue has a new restaurant in Wolf Cave, a decked out eatery and lounge on the corner of Batchelder Street.

Located at 3099 Emmons Avenue, the business opened its doors to diners about two weeks ago. They’ve yet to launch a website, but a waiter told us the menu includes salads, sandwiches, barbecued meats and sushi. In sum, he described it as “American-style barbecue.”

Photos on their Facebook page show a fairly cozy, almost hunting-themed restaurant. It’s decked out with warm colors, murals of wolves and trees, a fireplace and even a mounted deer head.

It’s also got a fairly rad, yet familiar, logo, seen on the awning above, which also declares Wolf Cave to be the place for “Good Natural Food”. They have live music in the evenings, Thursday to Sunday, which the waiter described as Russian-American.

The location has gone through a number of iterations the past few years. It housed a sushi spot, a Ukranian restaurant, and then, most recently, an Italian – Turkish pizza joint.

We wish Wolf Cave more success than their forbears, and hope to stop by soon to check it out!


The Log Cabin, one of Sheepshead Bay’s oldest bars, has slashed its storefront in half and is now going by the name The Brass Rail.

Established in 1987, the local staple at 2123 Avenue Z took up two storefronts on the corner of East 22nd Street for decades. But the owners reduced its footprint some time after Superstorm Sandy. That part, 2121 Avenue Z, is now leased by dentist Paul Markel.

The bar launched several new beer options on tap as well after years of being known to locals as the place with “several taps, all Bud.” They’ve also been doing a lot of themed events, including a pajama party, 80s party and, as seen in the photo above, a Thanksgiving Eve Party coming up in two weeks. Unfortunately, it was also one of the last bars in Sheepshead Bay with a pool table – and that is now, sadly, gone. The karaoke will go on, however, as indicated by the new line on their awning: “The Karaoke Spot”.

Best of luck to the new Brass Rail, as well as to Dr. Merkel!


The Brooklyn Chamber’s week-long wellness initiative is underway, and there’s still time to take advantage of a deal at a local gym.

Through November 16, you’ll have the chance to check out a number of fitness spaces across Brooklyn, and by mentioning “BK Fit” at participating venues, you can get a sweet discount to kick-start a healthy new you.

Here are some local spaces and what they’re offering:

MatchPoint NYC, 2781 Shell Road
Free one day pass

Harbor Fitness – Marine Park, 2825 Nostrand Avenue
Free three day pass

CrossFit Floyd Bennett Field, 3159 Flatbush Avenue
Free one week class

See the full list of participating gyms, including a bunch in Bensonhurst and Mill Basin, here.


Popular Community Savings Bank is adding its third Sheepshead Bay location, with an opening slated for 2121 Avenue U.

The storefront is the former home of Capital Paint, which recenlty moved to Avenue U and East 28th Street.

And, yes, the planned bank is next door to another bank – Capital One, at 2123 Avenue U. No comment.


Caucasus Garden, or Kavkazkiy Dvorik, got a facelift about a month ago with an all new storefront and awning at 2715 Avenue U.

It appears they’ve also eliminated the CG from the signage, which stood for Caucasus Garden, which we’re pretty sure is the English translation of Kavkazkiy Dvorik. Confused yet? Who cares. They have yummy food, like the kutab, which we once wrote about.

An employee told me that the food was Turkish, but he might have been simplifying it in the belief that I wouldn’t know about Azeri cuisine. I don’t, but I do know things like Azerbaijan is a place… and that Yelp clarifies that this is, indeed, Azeri.

The employee also told me they opened up about a month ago, which we know isn’t right. So it might simply be under new management. So many mysteries, so few English words mastered by the waiter with which to clarify…

But we don’t judge here. Except the kutab, which is yummy. Good luck on the new look, Kavkazkiy.

Challenge Fitness (Photo by Bryan E. via Yelp)

Challenge Fitness (Photo by Bryan E. via Yelp)

Fitness enthusiasts sweated through their final classes at Challenge Fitness last week, after owners announced that the gym would be shutting down.

A gym member said her class instructor announced during her Wednesday class that the owners had lost the lease to the 2209 Avenue X storefront. The sudden closure of the independent, family-owned gym comes after five years in business.

The owner confirmed the news via Facebook on Thursday, saying they hope the closure is temporary and suggesting they may find a new space:

Members of the gym with time left on their contracts are posting to the business’ Facebook profile to find out what to do. The owner has responded, saying they’re giving refunds to those who contact them directly on Facebook.

Some of the teachers have taken their classes to other gyms, sometimes with matching schedules. We contacted the owners to try and put together a list for those who need it, but are still waiting to hear back.

Otherwise, the gym, which made our list of the five best alternatives to the stinky, sweaty mess at Bally’s Fitness earlier this year, has been drawing fond memories from its members.

Member Zanib A. wrote:

There aren’t enough words I can express to say how thankful I am to have met such amazing and dedicated people as I had met at this gym. Luba Lipo you Leah Love Sosa and all of those fab girls really helped to change my perception of my life and for that I will always be grateful, this is never goodbye and wishing the best for Challengefitness By Luba, there is no other place like this one!

Celeste D. wrote:

Luba, my heart is crying! You will come back stronger. Challenge has done so much for so many people. I wish you the best. You help people physically and emotionally. Thank you, you will be back! Namaste!

Alex R. liked the place so much, he’s letting them keep the money he’s owed:

I had over a month left, but you guys have served me and let me in when my time was expired at times… I changed my life in this gym. No refund necessary. Good luck with everything, Luba!

Update (2:51pm): Leah Sosa, a teacher at the gym, wrote in and also let us know that she is continuing her classes nearby. She wrote:

I’m really sad also, it was an amazing community gym where my kids grew up. But the beautiful thing is wonderful friendships and relationships were formed and the closing of the gym does not signify the end of it benefitting the lives of those in the neighborhood.

I have moved to Underground Gym, 1424 sheepshead bay road, 3rd floor.

My schedule is as follows…
Monday 7pm —-  Zumba
Tuesday 6pm  —- Kids Bootcamp
7pm —-  Piloxing
Wednesday 7pm —-  Zumba Toning
Thursday 6pm —-  Kids Zumba
7pm  —- Bootycamp
Saturday 10am  —- Zumba
11am   —-  ABSession

This is pretty much my schedule just as it was at challenge minus a few classes.


CKO Kickboxing is coming to 2615 East 17th Street, just off Jerome Avenue.

The fitness franchise originated in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1997 and has since opened in more than 40 locations, mostly throughout the metro area. This will be their fifth location in Brooklyn.

The business takes over the long-empty space, which is below condominium units and a second floor office space used by AHRC, a center for adults with developmental disabilities.

There’s no word on opening date yet and no equipment has been installed, but the business’ website says it’s “coming soon.”

Welcome to the neighborhood, CKO!

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