Popular Eatery’s Mysterious Closing

Hills & Gardens
By Trudy Whitman

Some open prematurely — without a liquor license or ability to accept credit cards or with untrained servers. Not Breuckelen. Chef/proprietor Andrew Karasz had the whole package in place when the restaurant at 268 Clinton Street opened last year after a massive renovation. The food preparation, service, and décor indicated a true labor of love, and customers came in droves. No matter what night of the week or what the weather, it was difficult to get a table at Breuckelen.

So when the restaurant shut down two weeks ago, neighbors were mystified. A sign on the window said that Breuckelen was “taking a breather.”

Snarky bloggers suggest that Breuckelen got what it deserved, complaining that the restaurant was expensive and pretentious, and that “taking a breather” can only mean the end. We didn’t find it at all pretentious. And while we certainly considered it a “night out” — you didn’t enter its doors expecting a corned beef sandwich — some of Smith Street’s eateries are a lot pricier.

We hope that whatever ails Breuckelen, it will soon be remedied. We were looking forward to dinners on the backyard deck surrounded by the savory aromas of all those potted herbs.

* * *

At a recent event at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, I couldn’t help but compare that institution’s busy liveliness with the rather frumpy ambience of the Carroll Gardens branch at 396 Clinton Street. But a newly formed group, Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library, hopes to encourage more visits to our local branch and make the library a neighborhood hub. The group, according to its charter, has begun fundraising activities to “make the Carroll Gardens branch a center of the community with programs for children, youth and adults all year round.”

The first fundraising event — a book sale — will take place on Love Your Library Day — Saturday, May 14. Neighbors can help in two ways: drop off gently used books for the sale at the library and volunteer on the day of the event. To sign up, click www.SignUpGenius.com/go/carroll/846077. The group hopes to raise enough money at the book sale to purchase low, accessible shelving for the children’s area.

Nina Guralnick is president of FCGL and welcomes inquiries about the group at friendscglibrary@gmail.com.

* * *

It’s a double header! This spring you can comparison shop for your annuals, perennials, herbs, and hanging plants, because the Hoyt Street Association’s and the Cobble Hill Tree Fund’s annual plant sales occur on the same weekend — the weekend of Saturday April 30. Hoyt Street is a two-day affair, Saturday and Sunday. For Cobble Hill, Sunday, May 1, is the rain date.

The Hoyt Street Association’s Plant Sale takes place at the garage at 110 Hoyt, corner of Pacific Street, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday between 11 and 4. All profits from the sale support the Hoyt Street Garden and the Hoyt Street Association Community Funding Project, which provides grants for organizations that improve the neighborhood.

You can find the Cobble Hill Tree Fund’s Plant Sale on Clinton Street between Congress and Verandah Place in front of Cobble Hill Park. (Look for the plant and tree identification activity for children inside the park during the sale) Proceeds from this sale go toward planting and caring for Cobble Hill’s trees. Scheduled in conjunction with the Hoyt Street affair is the Boerum Hill Association’s Annual Greening Day on Saturday, April 30, during which neighbors spread out to primp and clean up the neighborhood. Bring heavy gloves and meet in the parking lot of the Hopkins Center between Hoyt and Bond streets. Set up begins at 9 a.m., and the green thumbers spread out at 10. Free compost and mulch will be available at the parking lot — one bag per family while supplies last.

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