Archive for the tag 'closings'

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I spent way too much time making this happen.

First Starbucks. Then Red Mango. Now Chipotle Mexican Grill is headed to Kings Highway, replacing longtime clothing store Beverly Boutique at East 14th Street.

Wooden fencing recently went up around 1325 Kings Highway, and permits were issued in late September allowing the interior to be reworked for the establishment of a Chipotle Mexican Grill. Since then, additional permits have been issued for interior and exterior demolition and signage.

It’s the second Chipotle in Southern Brooklyn, with the first being at Kings Plaza. There is one in Bay Ridge as well.

Chipotle is known as a healthier fast-food alternative, selling burritos, tacos and salads that might make you need to buy special products from Billy Mays’ ghost.

Kings Highway itself seems to be on the way to a remarkable turnaround. When the economy tanked in 2008, vacancy rates along the strip skyrocketed. Now national chains are stepping in to fill the gap alongside mom-and-pop businesses, including T.J. Maxx, and several new commercial developments have popped up. Perhaps the largest one currently underway is the construction of a commercial and office space on the block-long stretch between East 16th Street and East 17th Street.

Are these chains good for Kings Highway, and the mom-and-pops that have historically fueled the strip’s growth? You tell us.

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?

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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:

scott-jewelers

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.

brass-rail

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!

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:
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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.

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Sagdiana, a three-year-old Uzbek restaurant at 2612 East 14th Street, has given way to Azerbaijan House.

An employee of the new restaurant told us yesterday that the business changed hands about a month ago. They’ve built a website and are still working on their menu, but have a temporary roster of Azeri offerings.

Azerbaijain House is also somewhat distinct – while the number of Uzbek restaurants in Southern Brooklyn swells dramatically, there are only a handful of Azeri restaurants. Still, the employee said they would keep a number of Uzbek offerings on the menu.

Azeri cuisine is similar to Uzbek, both being nations of the Caucasus region and important stops along the Silk Road. They do have their regional differences, especially their takes on plov, of which Azeris boast of more than 40 different recipes (though the temporary menu offers only one). [Update: informed readers have pointed out that I know nothing.]

Good luck to Azerbaijan House, as well as to the former owners of Sagdiana!

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Sheepshead Bay Road’s Global Wholesale Market may reopen two years after it sold its last apple, as the building is currently undergoing major renovations.

The building at 1414 Sheepshead Bay Road sat silently since the business’ closure in September 2012, nearly a decade after it first opened. But, as any straphanger using the Sheepshead Bay Road subway station has noticed, workers have been on the roof installing new steel support beams.

Photo by Eugene Zhukovsky

Photo by Eugene Zhukovsky

According to paperwork filed with the Department of Buildings, it’s a renovation of an “existing supermarket” with plans to replace the storefronts, reinforce the roof (via the steel columns), and excavate beneath the building to create a cellar.

In terms of usable space created by the new cellar, the building is expanding from 18,350 square feet to 21,600, the maximum allowed by zoning.

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That’s not all. The oddly-shaped lot currently has storefront space on East 14th Street, adjacent to CVS’ parking lot. This will be torn down, according to the plans, and replaced with an 18-car parking lot.

The plot diagram submitted to the Department of Buildings. It will remain a one-story supermarket, but they're adding parking and digging out a basement.

The plot diagram submitted to the Department of Buildings. It will remain a one-story supermarket, but they’re adding parking and digging out a basement.

There’s no word on when the work will be done. The owners – the same as under Global Wholesale Market, according to the paperwork – were not available to comment when we called.

Apparently they’ve gotten into a bit of trouble, though:

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A Department of Buildings spokesperson confirmed that the Stop Work Order is still active, and was issued on September 29 because some demolition and the installation of the structural steel was being done without permits. The only work they’re currently allowed to do is back-fill behind the building, and by hand only. The spokesperson noted that any other work witnessed at the site should be reported immediately to 311.

While we’re sure that will slow down the work, we’re still happy to see this space being put back to use. We’ll keep you posted if we hear back about an opening date.

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Atlas’ current storefront on 18th Avenue (Photo by Anna Gustafson)

Gravesend is about to get a new butcher in Atlas Meat Market, an acclaimed Kensington business that is moving to Avenue X in early November.

The news comes via our sister site, Ditmas Park Corner, which writes that shop is leaving its 4311 18th Avenue location and taking over 387 Avenue X, which was most recently the call base for Prestige Car Service.

Since its opening just last year, the business has built up a loyal following in that neighborhood for quality cuts and knowledge of meat.

Ditmas Park Corner previously profiled the business, writing that owner Andrey Nevelskiy, a Borough Park resident, learned his trade during a 15-year stint in the Meatpacking District from seasoned veterans with more than 50 years of experience. As that neighborhood began to give way to gentrification and the fashion industry, he sought to revive the profession in Brooklyn.

“I know meat very well,” Andrey says, pointing to a board on the Kensington shop’s wall that spells out customers’ options for meat, a list far too dauntingly long to list in its entirety but which includes chuck roast, ribs, sirloin steak, brisket, hamburger meat, and so on. “I know every muscle, everything about it. I can give advice on anything we sell, whether you want to cook for 15 minutes or you want to cook for two hours.”

…“I live in this neighborhood, and I never saw a butcher shop like this,” Andrey says, explaining why he and [co-owner David Khanateyev] wanted to open their business in the area. “The whole point of this place is fresh meat. I cut the meat in front of the customer, so they can see it’s fresh. I can marinate the meat, and I’ll put it on in front of the customer.”

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Passersby have stopped to ogle adorable pups and cute kitties in the storefront windows of Puppy City for more than half a century. But the long-time neighborhood staple, and the place where the now ubiquitous “Wee-Wee Pad” was invented, unceremoniously closed its doors for good earlier this month.

“For rent” signs were posted at the 2539 Ocean Avenue storefront approximately two weeks ago. The store’s website declares in bold letters, “Closed – After over 50 years of service Puppy City has closed its doors,” and offers little explanation. The website and phone number now forward to that of Ozone Park-based Puppy Paws, and neighbors shrug their shoulders when asked what happened.

What happened was a combination of age and rent, according to Puppy Paws’ owner Boris.

“[Puppy City owner Kenny Simon] was getting up there in age,” said Boris. “And the store was there for 50 years. You can only imagine how much his rent went up during that time.”

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Allen Simon (Source: TV Land via Pets Advisor)

Boris, a Sheepshead Bay native who worked at Puppy City for approximately a decade, said he hoped to take the reins of the operation, but the landlord wouldn’t work with him.

“The new landlord didn’t want to budge because he thinks he has a landmark,” he said. “We wanted to purchase it, but not at the rent he wanted, so we chose to rather purchase the domain, the phone number, and the contents of the store.”

It was a lackluster end to a business with a pedigree in the industry. Once a small chain throughout the borough, the Ocean Avenue location was its first and last. And from that basement at 2539 Ocean Avenue, one of the best-selling products in pet history was devised: the wee-wee pad.

Puppy City was opened by Allen Simon, a former carpet installation business operator, in the 1960s. He tinkered with potential products in the basement of the store, first developing a cologne for canines before striking it big in the 1970s with the Wee-Wee pad.

Back then, pet owners used newspapers until their pets were housebroken, but the former carpet maven noticed how urine soaked through the paper.

“I said this is ridiculous; I’ll make my own pad,” Simon told Pet Advisor in 2010, and he did so by using a thicker, more absorbent material lined with plastic to prevent floor damage.

He passed Puppy City to his brother, Kenny, and launched Four Paws, a pet product company that now rakes in more than $30 million in sales annually. The Wee-Wee Pad remains the number one selling product, beloved even by celebrity trainer Cesar Milan. The Wee-Wee Pad was featured on CNBC’s The Big Idea and Simon was profiled on the Joan Rivers show How’d You Get So Rich?.

His brother kept Puppy City’s doors open for another 40 years, committed to local pet owners. He could not be reached for comment for this article.

Photo by Victoria K.

Photo by Victoria K.

Ocean Warehouse Liquors & Wine is setting up shop at 2965 Ocean Avenue, just north of Avenue Z.

The new business put signs up a week or two ago, but hasn’t yet rolled up its gates to customers. It replaces Kamron, a relatively short-lived Eastern European market, which itself replaces Ocean Bagels. That business took over the spot when Bagel Boy moved to its current location near the subway station.

Na zda-ró-vye, Ocean Warehouse!

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