The Year of Openings and Closings

The Year of Openings and Closings

Openings and Closings in Brooklyn are normally fun to compile. Not this year. This year almost every list was fraught with anxieties— would another neighborhood favorite close? What did this opening delay mean? What would places do without indoor dining?

Still. Every single time there were still far more openings than closings. We are resilient people, here in Brooklyn.

Perhaps, the eviction moratoriums are keeping places in business, or maybe the small amount of PPP money that went out was enough to tide people over for now. But for how long? It is no secret that while they may still be around, the restaurants that we love are struggling.

In January of 2020 (we were all so much younger then) we welcomed Bar Bete on Smith Street, chowing down on natural wines and tuna crudo. Another favorite, Noods n’ Chil, opened in Williamsburg. The iconic Gowanus diner Two Tom’s was our first loss of the year, and we said goodbye to Watty and Meg that month, as well as Seed in Park Slope.

February brought Love, Nelly, the Colombian Bakery from the Butter & Scotch team. It’s hard for us to type “Butter & Scotch” now, though, since we lost the dessert bar in September. In another sad loss, we both welcomed and said goodbye to The Skilled Archer in Bushwick this year, which first joined us here alongside Ottava in Park Slope and & Sons Ham Bar in PLG, the latter two of which are mercifully still around.

Outdoor dining on Park Slope’s 5th Avenue. Ellie Plass, Bklyner.

March. Oh, March. Signs of things to come came when we said goodbye to four Sunset Park dim sum parlors in one iteration. Good things still happen though, even in the darkest of days, and we welcomed The Bergen and Good Bar.

April through June was such a blur that we had only a single Openings and Closings list published. Maybe we blocked it out, or maybe (more likely) we were too focused on the Where To Order series, trying to help our neighbors help their neighbors stay open. May brought the tragic murder of George Floyd, and in turn, sparked protests that are still going on across the country against police brutality.

Outdoor Dining on Newkirk Avenue. Bklyner

By July, we were a bit more back on our game, welcoming One More Charm, and the now neighborhood staple Pasta Louise. This month’s losses hit us hard, with 43-year-old Cranberry’s, thirteen-year-old Jimmy’s Diner, The Good Fork, Glady’s Rum Bar, and the bar version of Fort Defiance. July had by far the most goodbyes— perhaps partly explained by the hiatus we took to get back on our feet— and brought a postponement of indoor dining.

Creativity came out of the woodwork in August, with Outerspace, the hugely popular outdoor sanctuary put on by the team at 99 Scott. Nothing good can stay, though, and we lost Maison Premiere, a beloved Williamsburg oyster bar.

September was still warm enough for us to be eating outside at every chance we got, and our prayers were answered by the N. 11th Street Cookout and Kokomo. Both spots dedicated time and energy to their outdoor spaces, full of plants, music, and people. We lost Building on Bond, 200 Fifth, which had been open since 1987, and Guadalupe Inn.

October brought Cozy Royale, the new restaurant from those at The Meat Hook, and all-broccoli restaurant Broccoli Bar in Fort Greene, and the now-permanent Paulie Gee’s Pop-Up Edith’s. We said goodbye to Park Slope’s Dizzy’s Diner, and several Italian institutions, including La Sorrentina and Embers Steak House, that had been open since 1985.

New outdoor dining structures ready for winter at Lea on Cortelyou and Stratford. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

The last two months of the year turned colder, with the loss of Gloria’s after 46 years and a bizarre, insane legal battle, MeMe’s Diner, and nine-year-old Donna in Williamsburg. Yet, we still look towards the end of 2020 with hope. We gained Nene’s Taqueria, Court Street Tavern, and said a “hello again” to That Bar in Park Slope, rebranded from The Montrose.

Take a deep breath in and out with us. We’ve nearly made it through this year. Things are far from over or normal, it’s true, but we can go into 2021 knowing that we’ve made it this far. Remember that restaurants need you now more than ever, and that you can help your favorites from ending up on the wrong side of this list next year. Fight for aid with your representatives, order directly from restaurants when you can, and never, ever tip less than 20%.