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Nov 20, 2007 06:18 PM

THE GREENS chinese veg rest closed!!!

I recently went to THE GREENS on montague st and found it has closed---many frum people ate there----its a great loss for downtown brooklyn.

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  1. It closed some weeks ago and I really feel its absence. Downtown Brooklyn is really in a bad situation right now in terms of kosher food. The crepe place on Willoughby Street had a fire in August and has not reopened.

    All I know of is the following: (1) Kosher Court in 16 Court Street, which frankly sucks - everything is unreasonably expensive and tastes like cardboard, except the potato kugel which tastes like moldy Elmer's glue; and (2) pre-packaged "Yummy" sandwiches from Court Order, which are decent if you like eating meat for lunch, which of course I don't. Also they often don't have them on Fridays or after 1 PM.

    Anyone know of any other options that I am missing? I wish someone would open a dairy restaurant that would actually attract a non-Jewish clientele and could get some business, but that also has a reliable hechsher. A Circa-type establishment would be perfect. Help us!

      1. I really never understoof how at least one kosher place couldn't survive there. Then again in downtown manhattan there was a point that there was hardly anything kosher.

        9 Replies
        1. re: pitagirl

          Unfortunately, people not supporting kosher restaurants in their neighborhoods or near their work place is a common theme. Sometimes it is a due to the quality of food and service and sometimes it is apathy.

            1. re: ariellasdaddy

              The cart on Remsen "upgraded" to Kosher Court inside 16 Court Street. I think the food is actually worse (if that is even possible) and it is just so ridiculously expensive. I would rather eat cereal every single day for lunch than eat from Kosher Court. It's what gives kosher food a bad name. It smells icky in there.

              I think that the real problem is that no one with a good business head has opened a restaurant around here. It's just a question of being able to satisfy a few markets at once.

              Mike's, for example, which was referred to in the topic linked by Marty, lasted approximately six months, and I was surprised it lasted that long since it was always empty in there. Why? Because he missed the point. People who keep kosher are not going to eat at a fleishig restaurant that has a lousy hechsher and is open on Shabbos and yom tovim. People who don't keep kosher are not going to eat at a restaurant that bills itself as being "Mike's Kosher Steakhouse" because, to them, a kosher steakhouse is a mystery best left unsolved. It was extremely pricey to boot.

              Thus, he tried to please everyone (and himself, since he told me personally that he didn't think his restaurant could survive without revenue from Saturdays, a busy restaurant day in Brooklyn Heights) and succeeded in pleasing no one.

              A dairy, chalav yisrael restaurant under the OU or OK - even a bagel place - would do well in the neighborhood. I am almost positive. If, and only if, the food is actually good and it is reasonably priced, thus appealing to observant Jews AND those who do not keep kosher. It should bill itself as "vegetarian" and not KOSHER KOSHER KOSHER. People who care would find the teudat kashrut. It should be near enough the courts to be convenient to the many observant court employees as well as get foot traffic from the otherwise affiliated. The Greens did so well because it attracted so many different types of people, and because it was cheap, and because it had a pleasant ambiance, and because it was convenient. All that despite having only Tablet-K and thus losing a large percentage of the observant market.

              It's obviously a challenge to appeal to so many different groups at once. But it can be done, as Circa has proven (and let's face it, their food is definitely edible but it's not what I would call excellent). It can be done and I strongly believe that as a service to the community someone should do it.

              1. re: kosherfoodie

                What was wrong with Pizza Court? Whenever I went there it was crowded, yet it closed a few years ago.

                1. re: MartyB

                  Maybe the rent went up and the economics didn't make sense any more. There certainly hasn't been any other kosher establishment that had the long-term success Pizza Court had, so I wonder if the area can really support one.

                  Also, I think that there are a lot less of a corporate jobs and more civil service jobs in that neighborhood, as compared with downtown Manhattan, and that may effect the equation as well.

                  Also even downtown Manhattan couldn't support a white-tablecloth place like Les Marais, as there was comparatively little weekend and dinner business, as opposed to many of the midtown joints, which get expense account folks for lunch and dates, theater goers and other 'tourist' types for dinner and weekends.

                  1. re: Beerhound

                    If Pizza Court could not survive, then I can't see any other kosher only establishment survive. Besides having pizza, a lunchtime favorite, it also had a wide variety of dairy items, including excellent soups. As I said, whenever I went there, they were crowded (granted I only went there lunch time). What is needed is a kosher version of a major chain that will bring in the general public. Subways, is one that clearly comes to mind. Don't know if a non-kosher Subway is there already, but something along those lines is what is needed.

                    1. re: MartyB

                      The Greens and Pastrami Box both lasted a reasonably long time. I firmly believe Pastrami Box's two main problems were that the food was not really that good, and that Mike (of the above-mentioned Mike's Kosher Steakhouse) is not a good restauranteur. People in my office still ordered from Pastrami Box all the time anyway, and it was pretty busy. The Greens only closed because the proprietors were getting on in years and their children preferred to focus on the non-kosher downstairs restaurant (or so neighborhood gossip tells me).

                      Beerhound, you make a really good point about distinction between downtown Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. I agree that people buying food here are probably more careful with their money than people who may be expensing their meals (or who make more money). The point is that for people around here to spend the money on lunch, the food has to be good, and it has to be reasonably priced. It also has to appeal to a wider audience than just people who keep kosher because, as you point out, the neighborhood cannot support a kosher restaurant that only appeals to the observant.

                      The problem facing downtown Brooklyn's kosher restaurant situation is the same problem facing much of the kosher restaurant world: restaurant owners are often content to rest on their laurels and make a (pricey) so-so restaurant where religious Jews eat just because they don't have the option of eating elsewhere. That may work in neighborhoods where there are enough people who will eat there anyway, but it won't fly here in the long term. The rents are too high and the observant are too few. But there are enough of us that it could work if done properly. It is shocking how many people I work with hop on the A train and just go to Circa for lunch!

                      1. re: kosherfoodie

                        There is a thread here at the Hound on Moishe's Falafel Cart . I wonder if something like this would fly in Downtown Brooklyn. Would such a cart have to pay rent (or something like that) or can one operate such a cart here (don't see why not if it is allowed in Midtown Manhattan). I can't believe that all these frum lawyers are either brown-bagging it or taking a train to Manhattan daily for a lunch.

                        1. re: MartyB


                          I know that carts here in LA must be overseen by the health department, and that means that the food must be prepared in a licensed commisary before going into the carts, and the carts must be parked at the commisary so that they can be inspected by the health department. I would point out that few, if any, commisaries are strictly kosher. Then, I believe that in most areas (like business parking lots), some sort of rent is charges. And I'm sure that if the cart is located in a public place (a park or sidewalk), some sore of pricey permit must be acquired. I would imagine NY is pretty similar. So even having a cart is not free of monetary outlays. The advantage might be that those outlays are quite a bit less than a brick and mortar restaurant, and if the location doesn't work, it can be changed relatively easily.