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Wednesday
Feb032016

Bark Hot Dogs to Close on Sunday

Some sad news for all lovers of gourmet hot dogs: Bark, which opened on the quaint stretch Bergen Street between Fifth and Flatbush Avenues in 2009, will be closing after service on Sunday night. Here's the notice that owner Josh Sharkey posted to the front door (click to enlarge):

Bark opened to much acclaim in 2009, serving custom-made hot dogs from an upstate German sausage maker and toppings made from locally-sourced and high-end ingredients. It seemed to be a perfect fit for the "real food" movement that's still going strong, by elevating an inexpensive fast food to gourmet heights. Other menu items included wings, fast food-style burgers, shakes, and onion rings, and the source of every ingredient was listed on their website.

But high-quality ingredients are expensive, as is average rent, and something went wrong somewhere along the way. While there always seemed to be plenty of people inside (they also did a brisk delivery business), a second location that opened last year on Bleecker Street closed after just six months and must have cost the company a fortune. Sharkey told Eater that "there are many reasons" for the closure.

Some may argue that the hot dogs there were too expensive, others that they're too unhealthy, but the fact remains that Bark happened to serve some of the best hot dogs in the country, and it's going to be missed.

If you drop by before Sunday night, you'll be able to buy condiments and hot dogs (per pound) for five dollars.

Monday
Feb012016

Is Cubana Cafe Closed for Good?

By all accounts, Cubana Cafe, the popular six year old Cuban restaurant on the corner of Sixth Avenue and St. Marks Place, looks like it's closed for good. The windows are covered over in black plastic, the signage has been taken down, and there hasn't been any activity inside in well over a month. But when the restaurant closed down just before the holidays, signs in the windows indicated that it was only closing for some renovations and would be re-opening soon, and the restaurant's Yelp page mentions (oddly specifically) that it'll be reopening on February 20. The website is still up and the phone like is still connected.

The restaurant's Smith Street location closed for nearly four months last year before re-opening with a new chef and brunch menu, so there's a chance that this could all still be going according to plan. An email sent to the owners hasn't been replied to and an employee at the Smith Street location didn't know if it would be reopening, so it looks like we'll just have to wait and see with this one.

Tuesday
Jan262016

Construction Underway on Union Market, SoulCycle Coming to 342 Flatbush Avenue

The promised revitalization of the stretch of Flatbush Avenue between Sterling Place and Grand Army Plaza hasn't quite been all it was cracked up to be back when Franny's opened in April 2013; whole buildings on that block have been vacant for years. But the impending addition of a Union Market and SoulCycle to the stretch was very welcome news when was first announced by Commerical Observer in September, and activity inside the space last week seems to indicate that work is underway. 

This will be the fifth location of Union Market; there are two additional locations in Park Slope (at Sixth and Union and Seventh Avenue near 13th Street), one in Cobble Hill, and another on East Houston Street in Manhattan. It'll be opening in the existing building, and pricey spinning studio SoulCycle will be opening its third Brooklyn location on a to-be-built second floor.

The building, which was fornerly a dialysis center and has been used as a pop-up Halloween costume shop in recent years, is actually a lot larger than it appears to be from the outside; it continues all the way to St. Johns Place. No word on whether this new incarnation will resemble the site's previous occupant.

Thursday
Jan212016

Momo Ramen Coming to 78 Fifth Avenue

A new ramen shop is in the works at 78 Fifth Avenue between St. Marks and Warren, in the space previously occupied by Pierre Loti Wine Bar, and before that Bistro Canaille.

Called Momo Ramen, it'll join the slew of other ramen shops that have opened in the area in recent years, including Zuzu Ramen, Naruto Ramen, Ramen Yebisu, and the insanely popular Chuko in Prospect Heights.

There's an unfortunate lack of any details or social media presence online yet. One thing we can probably be sure of, however, is that it has no connection to chef David Chang's Momofuku empire. That said, the more hot bowls of noodles and long-simmered stock the better.

Tuesday
Oct272015

Open for Business: Duman Home, 159 5th Avenue

A new home goods store opened last week on the corner of Fifth Avenue and St. Johns Place. Called Duman Home, it's the second location of a shop that owner John Duman opened on Court Street in 2013.

The charming boutique sells plenty of items for the home, ranging from sheets, pillows, and towels to tote bags, Fishs Eddy tableware, candles, and bathroom items. Aprons and some other kitchen tools are also for sale, and come the Holidays there will also be ornaments and decorations on offer.

With the sprawling Laytners closing recently after a nearly six year run on Union Street, there was a major hole in the market for high-quality home goods in the North Slope, and this fills the gap nicely. You might even recognize a familiar face or two from the Laytners staff here if you shopped there regularly.