Monday, January 28, 2008

2nd Street Cafe Closing Followup: Seventh Ave. Retail Bummer?

Yesterday, we posted the surprising and sad news that the 2nd Street Cafe on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope had gone out of business. We're repeating the news today and following up with some additional details in case anyone missed the news that a GL tipster has obtained confirmation that the cafe wasn't temporarily shuttered, but was, in fact gone for good. The cafe was temporarily closed last year for a top-to-bottom remodel and reopened with a more upscale feel. We are told that employees were given two days notice of the closing. There's been a lot of sad reaction to the sudden 2nd Street Cafe closure in the Slope. One GL reader commented yesterday that "I. Am. Dumbfounded. I'm so sad. They were always filled- I went for breakfast or lunch during the week practically every day recently!"

The closure makes the third empty storefront in a single block and what will be a fourth when another bookstore closes as scheduled. Add two other vacant storefronts and it makes six within three blocks. Our own tipster terms Seventh Avenue "The Boulevard of Broken Restaurants."

Of the Seventh Avenue Retail Death March, a poster on Brooklynian notes:
The problem is landlords are getting greedy. I wouldn't worry though, 7th Ave has been finished as a retail destination for a number of years. Landlords either have brokers (often offices of said owners) as tenants or national credit rated tenants (Starbucks, Citibank, etc). Most tenants who are interested in providing entertainment or a good restaurant will simply move to an area where rents are $60 psf or less. They know people will travel.

The spillover effect has created a vibrant 5th Avenue, and there is nowhere to go but up in places like Prospect Heights. Vanderbilt Avenue still has a ways to go, and I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't get to be a serious restaurant destination.
Seventh Avenue has actually had quite a bit more retail stability than other neighborhood strips, but that is apparently coming to an end, particularly on this stretch.

Other Seventh Avenue News:
The big space formerly occupied by D'Agostino, which closed in the spring, at Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street, remains empty. It had been rumored for a while as a possible Bank of America branch location. The corner storefront formerly occupied by Gothic Cabinet Craft, which was also vacated, is empty as well. One of the spaces there was said to be the future home of some sort of children's store.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're over prognosticating retail problems on 7th Avenue. It's true that landlords are driving out the tenants with huge increases. That's also why D'Agostino split.

But that's about all there is to the story....

11:09 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Its pretty weird walking down 7th Ave now, every block has at least one or two empty storefronts. Not sure how landlords continue to jack up the rents when there are so many vacancies.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Brenda from Flatbush said...

Talk about a classic case of killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg. Wouldn't it be fun to do a blog that highlighted these always-anonymous "greedy landlords"? A sort of Michael Moore thing: Follow them around with a video camera. "So, sir, how many more dollars a month will you get for driving out this beloved neighborhood institution? Sir?"

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, it is not just 7th Avenue. Take a walk down 5th and you'll see more boarded up store fronts with landlords waiting for some chain or bank to move in. Rumor has it that a certain french restaurant on 5th Ave and 4th is about to go under, and several others are teetering on the edge of solvency.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really going to miss 2nd Street. One of the BEST spots for a mid-week lunch. One of the only spots on 7th for a salad. And their herbal iced teas...

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's hot, though is seventh avenue between 10th street and 15th street —- union market, one girl chocolates, that Austrian restaurant, the Bagel Hole, Naidre's, Tea Lounge. Center Slope is so yesterday, South Slope is so today and tomorrow.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's why so many business are opening or moving to PLG, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, etc. People can not afford to run businesses with rents as high as they are on 7th Ave.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has happened before. Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was a great walk, full of restaurants, small stores, a good bookstore. Now it's Banana Republic and banks.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was my one of my favorite reasons to go to my girlfriend's neighborhoods...Hopefully they'll put in a Ruby Tuesdays so Park Slope will have a "New," "Edgy" vibe or at least somewhere that will be over $30 a plate so i'll know i'm earning my well spent money in style...I hope their landlord & mine meet somwhere in williamsburg for a brunch in hell...How much do we need to spend to make a place worth while?

1:14 AM  
Blogger Dope On The Slope said...

I don't know if this particular closing is totally about greedy landlords. That may be the proximal cause, but I suspect the business fell off too much during and following the recent renovation.

The "old" 2nd Street had food and service of decent if variable quality. The overall quality was mediocre (especially considering the prices), but the real selling point in my opinion was the kid friendliness of the place -- especially on weekends.

My wife and I had no children during the reign of the pre-renovation 2nd Street, but we really liked the casual, cluttered atmosphere. The renovation totally destroyed all of that, and it just "felt" like they wanted to become less of a family lunch and brunch spot and more of a dinner spot. My opinion is that many of the customers who were forced to find other family dining spots while they were closed came back for one visit after the re-opening and decided it just wasn't what it used to be.

When you're facing increasing rents, a change in your value proposition is risky. Perhaps the rising costs actually triggered the renovation -- maybe the owner felt he couldn't afford the rent under the old model.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were there the last night before they closed thier doors forever... It was very sad to hear the news... It had been 11 years. We're going miss 2nd Street Cafe.

For those who are interested: we created a group site on facebook called "2nd Street Cafe - Park Slope". We just wanted to post some old picture which have a lot of, to just remember our happy days at this around the corner spot.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2nd street cafe owner kill the goose that laid the golden eggs, with that kind renovation, unnecessary, inexperience new chef and without the loyal guys two years ago him let them go for good that’s was a good work team …..They fell sadder that anybody… it was at second home…..they were born on that place to be probable the best hard workers him will never got to found again…….....

1:41 AM  

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