The Restaurant Recovery – The Bite

Arbuz owners and staff cleaning off the furniture just days after the storm.

THE BITE: The Bite’s been laying low as Sheepshead Bay struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy. With so many still without power or heat, it seems a bit insensitive to write about a newly discovered food dish. Now’s the time to help our neighbors rebuild.

Many of our restaurants and food mongers who came out for this year’s A Taste of Sheepshead Bay are still recovering and some are already back in business. Please do your best to help support the businesses that support Sheepshead Bites and the community. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to bring you our coverage of the neighborhood. No one else provides the local news when you need it,  like Sheepshead Bites.

Rovshan Danilov, the owner of Arbuz, put it best. “We need Sheepshead Bay back. We need the businesses to return. We need the customers back. We need the landlords to understand and work with the small businesses of the Bay.” We’re all in this together.

  • il Fornetto – Our generous sponsor of A Taste of Sheepshead Bay, il Fornetto, was hard hit by the hurricane. As the Bay’s only true waterfront restaurant, it was completely devastated by the winds and the water. Angelo, owner and manager, tells me that they expect the restaurant to re-open any day. The repairs, actually the complete rebuilding of the restaurant and kitchen,  have been completed and they’re waiting for Con Ed to turn the power back on.
  • Maria’s Restaurante Italiano – Longtime Sheepshead Bay institution Maria’s reports that they’re ready to open the doors, but Con Ed and National Grid still haven’t restored their utilities. According to the owner, Jeff, the restaurant received some water damage, but was never “completely submerged.” “Everything’s ready to go,” he added.
  • The Baron de Kalb, Knights of Columbus – Our hosts suffered much damage during the storm, but contrary to popular rumors, a boat never docked in the ball room. Unfortunately, it did land on the pier. The building and the pier both suffered major damage. We can’t confirm when The Baron will reopen.
  • Masal Cafe – Masal, located in the Lundy’s building, became part of the Bay during the storm. Masal was flooded by over six feet of water and was completely wiped out by Sandy. “Everything is gone and we need to buy everything new,” the owner, Sal, told us. “We hope to reopen within a week or 10 days. We’re just waiting for Con Ed.” Some good news, Sal tells me that the long awaited Masal Seaside Cafe should be opening soon as well.
  • Chayhana Salom – Chanyhana Salom couldn’t have picked a worse time to launch. Open just a few weeks before Hurricane Sandy visited, and a new baby boy arriving for the owners as Sandy knocked on the doors, Chayhana Salom suffered some major damage. Owner Nazira tells me that the restaurant has been “totally restored and rebuilt” and they’re waiting for utilities to be restored before they can reopen.
  • Arbuz – Like most of the businesses on Sheepshead Bay Road, Arbuz suffered some major flooding and damage. “Our store was destroyed, basically,” Danilov said. “We chose to clean up as soon as possible and return to business.” Arbuz wants you to know that they “chose the route to spend money from our own pockets to return to business as soon as possible. We chose to pay and keep our employees. Small business is coming back.” He added, “We still don’t know the extent of the damage.” They will be closed on Thursday, but will reopen on Friday. Arbuz is offering a limited menu for its customers. “We’re doing everything we can to get back in business full time, but sales are down significantly.” While they rebuild, they want to know that they are offering free wifi and power for recharging any electrical equipment to their customers.
  • Jimmy’s Famous Heros – Jimmy’s was also destroyed in the storm but is coming back strong. Owner Victor Spadaro tells me that they’ve had some great help in the cleanup from volunteers from all over Sheepshead Bay, particularly the Cleanup Sheepshead Bay Facebook group. But the restaurant was “totally underwater” during the storm. Like so many businesses in the Bay,they’re waiting for the utilities to come back. Then they’ll reopen as “the same old Jimmy’s – just better, brighter and stronger.”
  • Anatolian Gyro – Anatolian Gyro kept a brave face by grilling and posting  pictures of delicious foods on Facebook throughout the storm. Unfortunately, Sandy won. Anatolian Gyro was badly damaged in the storm, but they are done rebuilding. All Anatolian Gyro needs to reopen is a visit from Con Ed and National Grid. Metin, the owner and manager, tells me that as soon as the utilities are restored, look for Anatolian Gyro to be offering free soups to anyone affected by the storm.
  • Wheeler’s – Wheeler’s also suffered major damage to the bar and all of its kitchen. Speaking with the owner, Mike, he tells me that they don’t have an estimate on reopening. “It’s a money issue.” Both Mike’s business and home were destroyed by Sandy.
  • Tete-a-Tete – Tete-a-Tete suffered major damage with almost all of its storefront blown out by the raging water.  Tete-a-Tete’s first floor cafe was completely destroyed and it’s building’s basement flooded. Power and utilities have not been restored and owner Dima Nadelson originally told us that they don’t expect Tete-a-Tete to reopen “before the New Year,” though he recently said he thinks it will be sooner. (UPDATE: Dima now tells us that Tete-a-Tete will celebrate a reopening with most offerings in the next week or two.)
  • Sushi MiKasa – Sushi MiKasa located on Gravesend Neck Road and in Zone B received some minor flooding. What really hurt their business is the power outages. David, owner and manager, tells me “With power out for four days, we had to throw out all our fish. We lost over $30,000 in fish.” While Sushi MiKasa has restocked, the nor’easter Athena is causing new problems. They’ve lost power again today.
  • Kingsborough College’s Culinary Program –  KBCC’s campus received some major damage and reports that “their kitchens are a mess,” but the school has reopened and so has the kitchens. Cook on young chefs! Instead of the normal curriculum, the students have created a “free soup kitchen” for students and members of the staff who were displaced by the hurricane.
  • Bassett’s Catering – Hurricane Sandy hit Bassett’s in the middle of a major remodeling. They suffered minor flooding and after waiting about a week for the utilities to return, Bassett’s is up and running better and stronger for the test.
  • T&D Bakery – T&D escaped the ravages of the hurricane and is open for business. Hmm, a canoli sounds good right about now.
  • New Cats Cafe – From Oleg, the owner, “New Cats would like to tell all of its fans that we will rebuild and move past everything that’s happened within these past few days. We will come back and return looking far better than ever before :)”
  • JoMart Chocolates – Okay. I guess being located on the farthest edge of the best neighborhood in Brooklyn occasionally has its benefits. JoMart survived unscathed. Handmade chocolates anyone?
  • Nargis – Sometimes it comes down to location. Being located on Coney Island Avenue, Nargis escaped the worst of the storm. They only had four feet of water in their basement! The water’s been pumped, the restaurant thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom and Nargis is up and running for business.
  • Cevabdzinica Sarajevo II – located just up Coney Island Avenue from Nargis, escaped Sandy’s wrath. Cevabdzinica Sarajevo II is open for business and looks forward to serving you their outstanding cevapi.
  • Anthony’s Place – Located on Avenue X, Anthony’s place suffered little damage and is open for business.
  • Chop Stix – Chop Stix survived the brunt of the storm relatively unscathed. George, the owner and manager has this message for their customers. “We send our concerns to anyone who suffers from the storm and hope that they get back on their regular track as soon as possible. Please let everyone know that we are open and ready to serve everyone with the most fresh vegetables and meat.”

Please – do your best to support the businesses of Sheepshead Bay and help them recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.


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