Food & Drink

Work Begins on New Restaurant at Old Vox Pop Space


Vox Pop Construction

Our tip lines lit up yesterday as several neighbors noticed the gates up, and construction beginning, at the old Vox Pop space at 1022 Cortelyou Road, on the corner of Stratford. We’ve learned that work has just begun on a new restaurant from the owners of The Castello Plan and Mimi’s Hummus.

Ben Heemskerk, of The Castello Plan and the new Collyer’s Mansion, located just around the corner from Vox Pop, tells us that he and Avi Shuker, also of Castello, as well as Mimi’s and Market, are planning a restaurant for the space, but he’s keeping details under wraps until they get a little further along in the work.

This initial work is interior demolition, and it sounds like they have a lot of demo ahead of them.

Construction at Vox Pop

The tangled history of Vox Pop goes back to its opening in 2004, which was followed by a change in ownership and trouble with taxes, until it finally closed in the fall of 2010. After some rumors last summer that a new tenant was coming, the space remained lifeless for about two and a half years, until yesterday.

Construction at Former Vox Pop Space

They’re very much in the beginning stages of work, so try to keep your anticipation at an even keel as we wait for more news. But definitely join us in our excitement that something is finally, actually happening at this long-vacant corner!

Thanks to Michael, Jill, and Kim for sending pictures!

Comment policy


  1. Man o’ man… I wanted to revel in my knowing of secrets for at least another day or two. Thanks, Mary, for ruining my fun. :-p

  2. Umm… John. This would make the total a whopping 3-1/2 storefronts on Cortelyou Road with common ownership (though, only one partner is common to all). And they are also neighbors.

  3. Actually, I’m happy that a group of people has chosen to invest their money here when they could have taken it elsewhere.

  4. I live on Stratford and have met these folks (and their family who helped build Collyer’s Mansion) and they are lovely, delightful neighbors who are revitalizing the area even further. I wish them heaps of success and a hearty thanks.

  5. Maybe we should just give them the whole block? It kinda sucks when the same group of people own all the businesses. It ends up all being the same product and there is are no competitive prices. Variety is always better. What am I saying? With a situation like this they will own the whole block.

  6. Why don’t you start a business on the block then instead of whining about other people’s businesses on the internet?

  7. What? I have to own a business to criticize this monopoly? Aren’t you whining at other comments on the internet? It doesn’t take much to see that a variety of businesses with different owners is better than one person or group owning everything.

  8. I think your understanding of the term monopoly is a bit simplistic. In general though, I find it boring to hear so many people complaining about opening up businesses while sitting behind their computer screens. You don’t like those businesses? Don’t be a patron. Simple. There are plenty of businesses I don’t like, but instead of whining about them, I just don’t give them my money.

  9. Yeah, I used the word in a basic sense. I will do what I please and spend money where I please. I don’t need you giving me advice on my spending habits or who I should and shouldn’t support- or what I am allowed to say on the internet. This shit is annoying because you end up with the same type of stores and the same high prices. Have you not seen this before? Do you really enjoy expensive “clone” stores like they have in Williamsburg and Park Slope? Again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that variety is better. There should be some sort of zoning law against this sort of thing.

  10. So we have one group of people owning Castello, Mimi’s, and this new place. That only leaves San Remo, Tibet, the Farm, Picket Fence, Kumo, Purple Yam, Cinco de Mayo, Qathra, Madeline, Catskill Bagel, CT Muffin, the new chicken place with the garish sign, the new brick oven pizza place where Solo used to be, the halal cart, and various delis – and that’s only on Cortelyou. What monopoly?

  11. No… but if you’re going to criticize, you should try to be slightly less willfully ignorant. On Cortelyou Road, just between CIA and the subway tracks, there are about 15 establishments serving food. This “group” currently represents 2 (3 if you count “Market”) and soon there will be one more. Doesn’t sound like a very successful monopoly does it?

  12. You know what I mean. And these things start out small until most of the businesses are owned by the same people. I have seen it happen before. Ignorant? Bullshit. This area can end up being an expensive mess of stores all catering to one set of people who like spending a ton of money on mediocre product, and there will be no competition to make anything affordable or set any kind of quality standard.

  13. Would you rather it stay an empty storefront with a torn awning? Because I don’t see anyone else vying for the space.

  14. No, what doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand is that “variety” on its own is not necessarily better.

    Hypothetically speaking, a variety of crappy dirty dingy rundown greasy spoons, each with its own proud independent identity, wouldn’t be better in any possible way than a group of stores owned by the same group.

    Look at Batali, Robuchon, Boulud, Maccioni and so many others. They each own a mighty number of restaurant, now tell me they’re boring and repetitive.

  15. I think he means Monopoly like the board game. If you buy three properties next to each other, then you can build hotels there and charge $17 for a latte. And if you land on it, you HAVE to buy it. I’m with him; this scares me. I don’t want to be forced to eat $71 hummus.

  16. I would like a schmancy salon (nails, waxing, etc.), a pet food store, another bar (though I love Sycamore) — ideally a gay bar (a girl can dream) but I would take another restaurant! Particularly a Colombian restaurant. I have a weakness.

  17. I’m all for more restaurants and varieties. There should be 2 of everything to keep things interesting. Looking forward for someone to open a Spanish/ San-Qi restaurant with Paella or Greek varieties.

  18. I wonder if these guys are stretching themselves too thin. The past few times I ate at Castello the food was so horrible that we decided we wouldn’t go back. It was disappointing because it was great when it first opened. And Mimi’s is what it is. Consistent, but slightly boring. I’d rather they improve upon what they already have than expand.

  19. I know you are being sarcastic and I found your post funny. The key is that nobody is forcing anybody to do anything, let alone eat $71 hummus.

  20. Their businesses occupy two separate blocks, so even that isn’t accurate. You’ve lost the argument here. You can keep going on and on all you like, but you only look more foolish. These are small businesses owned by people investing in the neighborhood. Sure beats another Dunkin’ Donuts, or pharmacy.

  21. In fairness, when CP first opened, the chef was Natasha Pogrebinsky, who was fantastic. She left a couple years ago to open Bear ( in LIC (kicks self yet again for not having tried it yet) with her brother. Pretty tough act to follow.

  22. What sort of zoning law would that be? The one that doesn’t let small businesses open if there is more than one common owner of multiple businesses in the same zip code? You do realize these are small, local businesses, not the Barclay’s Center, right?

  23. I do understand why there is a certain amount of resentment to the news. The business they have presented over the years are geared towards a particular kind of customer. Its honestly only good business sense in doing so as you need to cater to your target market. Mimi’s focuses on well executed Middle Eastern style small plates and dishes. Costello Plan on wines, Belgian beers, and various tasting plates. Market does much of the same for artisan food goods. The Mansion is for unique home goods.

    None of these establishments are definable as simple or easy going. Its a tad upscale, a tad pricey, and even a mild bit of pretentiousness. When you add the Farm, Purple Yam, Kumo, its easy to understand what some are getting at. Sure, there are some other options out there that are a little down the totem pole, but I really only enjoy one from that lot.

    Yes, I know of the the other options that reside on Newkirk and Church. If they both were actually located on Courtelyou, wouldn’t the landscape be just that much more vibrant? I do. Now we just have to wait and see what happens.

    Does anyone know what is going on at the old Solo space? I had seen the brick oven pizza sign today and its surprising there isn’t much mentioned here.

  24. And I have a lot invested here commenting on Courtelyou Road and Ditmas Park since I’ve never been there and likely never will be!!!!

    [Pre-empting dirty hipster]

  25. LOL that this space goes from VOx Pop with their hand constantly out looking for “donations” to a big bad monopoly.

  26. In fact you can’t even spell Cortelyou properly. Do come and visit sometime though.

  27. Likewise – as a happy customer of each of their businesses thus far – odds seem likely I will end up supporting this venture as well!

  28. Actually, Justin has a point. The situation as it is appears is a Catch 22. I agree with those who feel that reopening Vox Pop as a restaurant is a necessity to the strip. However, it is a little disconcerting that a small group of individuals will own the majority of eating/drinking establishments within a couple block stretch. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was with the understanding that Gary, owner of The Farm and Sycamore, was an investment partner in Mimi’s as well.

    But at the end of the day, it is what it is. However, I hope that whatever is planned, doesn’t simply rehash what is already here.

  29. I really wish someone would open a watering hole on the other side of CIA. Maybe up by Church. That would be awesome. You can send the monopoly that way.

  30. Not at all. That place is run like a social club. I’ve also had friends tell me about bad experiences. Racial slurs and things of that ilk. I definitely won’t support a business with a track record like that.

  31. There is Lark, I know it isn’t a watering hole but they do have good beer. Also, I have had many good experiences at Shenanigans but haven’t been in a while. The garden was nice in the summer.

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