The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lincoln Road Landlady Weighs Way In

I spoke with Rong Ge, "legendary" owner of the building that's housed K-Dog, Enduro, Lincoln Park Tavern, Blue Roost and Papa & Sons over on Lincoln Road just west of the Flabenue. There are those who think she's been more nemesis than hero on that block, but she IS the owner and for those who care about the future of that oh-so valuable commercial real estate near the train station, it's pretty clear she knows more than anyone what stores are in store, and so I asked her..."what gives?"

First, the big news. Papa & Sons will not be a bank, so don't withdraw all your money from the Chittybank just yet. Rong's signed a lease with an "upscale" grocer who she wouldn't name, but she's confident after visiting the proprietor's other stores in Manhattan that they will do a tremendous business and that it will be "just what the neighborhood needs" for that spot. We can expect a few months of renovations, and Ge feels the place is in terrible shape even structurally, but needless to say there will be much joy in some quarters. The new Lefferts Manor "Echo" is out, and Milford Prewitt writes a nice eulogy to Papa's owner Francisco and his brother who were the "sons" of the bodega's name. It's a bit heartbreaking, but luckily the brothers still have their other joint across the Flautobahn.

Things are moving forward, too, with the new biz moving into the old Blue Roost/K-Dog space. I was going to keep my bloggy mouth shut but people have already dropped the news on the listserves that a couple local PLG guys are opening a sleek shop to add a retail location to their successful catering business. They too are awaiting reno permits, and I would imagine we'll be seeing doors a flappin' by late fall/early winter. I'm glad to hear the owners are neighbors. More power to mom and pops, or pops and pops as the case may be, or even moms and moms (like lovely but out-of-the-way Lark on Church Avenue. Nice sammiches ladies!)

Which begs the question: why all the turnover? As you can imagine, it depends on whom you ask. Beleaguered suds 'n' grub joint Linkin' Park Tavern, formerly Enduro's and formerly formerly Fly Fish is clearly not enamored of the terms of their lease, so say thirsty barflies with keen hearing. There's some talk that when Ms. Ge doesn't like the way you conduct your business, she gets testy. Perhaps that's why some of the turnover, but hey when everyone's making buckets of cash I'm sure bygones stay bygones. But it also may be true that Rong is a bit of a perfectionist and she doesn't like half-ass businesses, which in this blogger's opinion is what you experience when you drop in for an overcooked burger and mediocre fries from a business owned by the once legendary Jim Mamary. Even in 2009 his star had faded, and he moved to NJ according to this piece, leaving day to day operations of his eateries to surrogates. I used to love Jim's first big hit - Patois - on Smith Street. He was there every night with his chef partner and this being the mid to late 90s he was the only bourgie game in town over in Carrol Gardens. Mrs. Q and I would luxuriate long into the evening over something French to eat and drink and kiss. Patois closed in 2008 only to jump the shark, or river, into Little Italy. It promptly closed there too. In fact many of his joints closed without warning, and if you were good at those SAT tests that say A is to B as C is to D you can probably finish this sentence...Linda of Blue Roost cited problems not of Ge's making. In fact, it sounds like a certain partner (who might that be?) was not forthcoming with his part of the investment. And K-Dog, well, Gaby did have nasty things to say about Ge, and she's still smarting from them, but hopefully that's all water under the bridge for the former coffee shop owner who's moved on to better and happier things.

So who really knows? Alls I can say is maybe it's not such a bad thing to see turnover up there. Maybe everyone learned something from the first round and a new day, along with some sweet pastries, will rise. And there's a cute spot moving in next to Gino's, details when I get them. So who among the Pinot Grigio set can possibly complain? By the by, the Q is sad to see Delroy's shuttered (the Panini place next to wine shop 65 Fen) - it never really found its nosh niche, and the "provisions" shop that was to cap Michael's empire seems to have lost its food footing as well. It's probably time to check in with him and see what up.

Still, for my money, the most exciting strip in Caledonian Flatbush is neither Lincoln Road nor Fennimore, but rather Clarkson to Parkside, which boast the most varied, frenetic and truly New York bunch of shops you can imagine. Even the Dunkin Donuts and Duane Reade and Subway feel uncorporate in this setting. And you know what? My family has patronized all but maybe two of the twenty or so shops on that little stretch (I simply AIN'T gonna get a tattoo at Envy Nails. If I do get one, probably of my favorite band Linkin' Park, dude), I'm heading up the Flabenue a couple blocks). Soon, I gotta write something about Don, who's also known as Peter, who runs the Glen Hardware/bicycle shoppe...


28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Papa and Sons did have structural issues in the joists in their floor. At one point a few years ago they fixed it a little but it was still saggy and there was always a smell of moldy wet rot. We love OJ's market but they don't carry much household stuff. It's hard not having a store in that area carrying a fuller array of grocery stock. An upscale grocer will be very welcome. But let's hope they carry dishwasher detergent too. Which, I just learned, not one market or drugstore on our end of Flatbush carries. Apparently all their customers wash dishes by hand.

MB said...

Ugh, upscale grocer. Dang, everything's gonna start getting expensive. What's next on that strip, connecticut muffin??

Anonymous said...

"First, the big news. Papa & Sons will not be a bank"

The only reason anyone thought a bank was going to be coming was this blog reported it. So first you misreport something and then break the news that it's wrong?

Wow.

eggs! said...

anon 1:45


go fuck yourself

Jean said...

Associated sells dishwasher detergent.

Anonymous said...

MB, there are plenty of stores selling cheap stuff for you do don't go getting all worried that PLG might suddenly become ritzy because we get a grocer that sells some quality food- some food that isn't expired around here wil be appreciated by most regardless of their personal finances.

If the news of the supermarket is true and it actually comes to fruition, rejoice people! I know I will.

Anonymous said...

Weird - there are plenty of places to buy dishwasher detergent. I've never had a problem finding it.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon of 1:45 am. Sorry my part-time unpaid gossip column blog isn't up to NY Times standards. Actually, the Times is only as good as its sources too (WMD's anyone?). And in this case, months of "bank" rumor were confirmed by folks close to the action. I didn't make up the bank thing. Even the LMA "Echo" said the it in the latest issue. Here's what I said in the comments after a commenter tried to debunk the bank thing:

Betting Man: I wouldn't touch your bet [that the bank won't happen] with a 10 foot Ackee. The PLAN is for a bank. Even other "reported" activity on Lincoln is still preliminary. The Q got wind just the other day of potential trouble at another location on the block, but I'm sworn to secrecy on that one. P&S is done for, however.

I also reported, from the mouth of the owner himself, that a new provisions store would open on Fennimore and open in a week. If people tell me one thing and then do another, I really can't do anything about it.

If you're one of the many neighborhood residents who withdrew all their cash and put it in a mattress awaiting the new bank to open, I apologize. If you like, I'll come over and take the cash off your hands and "deposit" it elsewhere.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

And Eggs...such a potty mouth! This is a family blog!

Anonymous said...

An upscale market, whatever that is, would be a very welcome thing. Papa and Sons was a nasty dive.

Anonymous said...

What I have heard about Jim Mamary (which may or may not be true, but what is a blog if not a public forum to discuss unsubstantiated rumors??) is that he is not necessarily personally invested in the restaurants he runs. He gets partners to put up the money and he brings the restaurant expertise.
Anyway, I am surprised that LPT is struggling with its lease. It seems fairly busy 7 days a week-- you couldn't ask for much better than that.

Anonymous said...

i agree with "eggs", although i would say it differently. so tired of the many readers in this area who have such small, embarrassing, tedious and snarky comments about this blog (and the neighborhood in general). i wasn't aware that reading it is compulsory. if you take issue with the material, why not just go away and take your attitude along? no one else comes close to keeping us abreast of the goings-on in this neighborhood, and the q really is constantly checking out the hood, checking in w/ our neighbors. i feel more connected to my neighbors/neighborhood as a result of his tireless involvement, and i applaud his constant efforts to uplift and defend our PLG. so, haters, i invite you to do better, although i seriously doubt you're made of such stuff.

Stephanie said...

On Delroy's, I think (hope) it is just closed temporarily -- Michael said he lost his chef but is looking for a new one. And his provisions place on Fenimore seems to be getting there; a peek in the windows reveals that the shelves are slowly getting stocked.

Anonymous said...

If Jim Mamary's expertise garners you a B from the Health Department I will make sure not to partner up with him!!

Arthur Goldwag said...

Here here to Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45 AM... You are so annoying. If 1/10 of the newcomers to this neighborhood put in the effort that the Q does, we'd see great change. I for one don't have the time for landlord interviews and I'm thankful that the Q finds pockets of time (in his, I'm sure, very busy schedule) to help keep us informed. I do help with weekly trash pick up that I just do on my own, but the Q really does keep me informed. The nature of writing about something before it happens is, surprise, that sometimes the reported event will change. And again, I appreciate that he finds rumors, news, upcoming events and posts them for our sake. Get a life, anon 1:45 AM. You are obviously depressed and taking it out on the world.

Anonymous said...

Oooh yay! Very excited for this.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one seeking dishwasher detergent -- yes I know Associated carries it but when you're in a hurry and pushing along a small child who needs to get home it's a drag if not an impossibility to walk 6-7 blocks, then 6-7 blocks home again, for one little item that is normally carried in any corner market. Papa and Sons used to carry it and now nobody on that end of Flatbush carries it. Neither do the markets on Rogers. We like OJ's for some food items, they're great, and we're not lamenting the loss of Papa and Sons specifically, but I just needed to point out there's not a replacement for Papa and Sons if somebody doesn't start carrying more of the basic household items.

Anonymous said...

Thanks as always to El Q for his tireless, and generally thankless work of reporting on a nabe more diverse and unique than, say, a herd of cats, feral, domesticated, or otherwise. As for the haters, keep hatin'. It makes the taste of the news that much sweeter. And best of luck to the new crop of business owners, may you work hard and find your reward in this fabulous burg we call PLG.

ElizabethC said...

Dishwashing detergent might not be as prevalent because many of these building don't have an adequate water source, so there *are no dishwashers* in many of the buildings on my block. At the nice age of very late thirties, I've never lived in an apartment WITH one.

MY personal peeve is that the Pioneer frequently runs out of Diet Coke (!!!) --but usually has ALL Nine flavors of Tropical Fantasy in stock.

RIP Delroys.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I've got a suggestion. Go to your favorite stores and ask them to stock what you need. I remember Wilfrid Compere of FEPMA once saying that not all storekeeps know what things people want. He had the funny anecdote of the fact that he was a gum chewer, and the store next to him didn't have his favorite kind. So he asked them to stock it, they did, and now he buys all his gum there. It cracked me up, but there's some truth there. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes! (I've seen it work at the grocery stores; they're usually happy to take suggestions.)

Anonymous said...

The bodega on the corner of Ocean and Lincoln stocks dishwasher detergent. Got some on Thursday. The folks who run this place are quite nice, btw.

-Paul

Anonymous said...

The folks at OJs are nice and caring as well. A neighbor of mine asked them to stock fire logs and they agreed to do so. Dish(washer) detergent should not be an issue.

ElizabethC said...

SO, I actually spoke to the guy at the Pioneer (I'm sure I'm the only person who even slightly cares about this) and the problem is that while Pepsi will deliver every other day, Coca-Cola will only deliver two-three times a week. so, BOOOO Coca-Cola for not loving the Flabenue. But the manager was so nice about it! I love that guy.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't entice Union Market over here. They're opening a third Park Slope location, in addition to the ones they have on Court St and in Manhattan. I'm sure there would be plenty of people saying they would never want a Union Market here, but really, who wouldn't want good fresh food in PLG for a change rather than hauling it from the UM in the Slope or Whole Foods in the city? Because I see lots and lots of people carrying heavy bags from these stores walking off our subway stops and down Flatbush...

Anonymous said...

I actually emailed the Union Market owners about a year ago about about opening in PLG - and amazingly got a response. They were very nice and said they were always looking for expansion opportunities - but not to hold my breath.

I know many who would say that the arrival of such bougie establishments would ruin our fair nabe - but there's plenty of room for more retail diversity.

On a related note - shout out to our awesome new-ish beer place on Flatbush and Lefferts. That joint has better selection and prices than almost anywhere in Brooklyn. And growlers!

-Paul

Cameron Page said...

On the topic of fresh veggies --- why is there no Farmers Market in PLG? Seems like there would be plenty of support for one....

Anonymous said...

Union Market?I sincerely hope not!! Maybe they were nice to you but they don't pay their bills, sold out of date ridiculously marked up product and told the Prospect Park Vendors like Russos and old school joints when they moved in on 7th Ave "be prepared to go out of business"
Arrogant and rude is all I can say about my experience there. If they open here i will boycott them.
So as long as you are happy with that attitude you are welcome to them.