By Dennis Holt
BROOKLYN — Did you know that there are 241 restaurants, cafes and bars in Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens?
The fact that you probably don’t give a hoot about that weighty fact is not the point. I provide that number because I counted a four-column list that came in the mail the other day that seemed pretty accurate to me.
That one-page list was part of a 20-page magazine called Local Menu Report that I later found out is published in Brighton Beach. I also found out that the company that published that magazine is also called, appropriately, Local Menu Report.
Local Menu Report is the product of Jacob Tannenbaum, who lives in Brighton Beach. It dawned on him not that long ago that many of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn were changing so fast, and food and drink places were proliferating so much, that maybe there was a need for his kind of service.
What he has done is to publish 16 neighborhood Menu Report editions so far. These are sent in the mail. Each publication offers space for local restaurants to advertise their place with a menu — 18 did in the issue I received — and the last page features a listing of every appropriate restaurant in the neighborhood.
Some of Tannenbaum’s neighborhoods include Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Park Slope, Bay Ridge, Kings Highway, Midwood and others.
The issue I received is for “Bococa,” a nickname for the overall area that includes Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.
In very small print at the bottom of the cover is this sentence: “10,000 copies of this report are sent via USPS Direct Mail to residents and businesses in Bococa.”
Looking through the publication, I find that there are three restaurant advertisers that are not in Bococa at all. One is in Park Slope, another is in Bay Ridge and the third is way down on Coney Island Avenue. One assumes their ads appear in all neighborhood issues.
In the Bococa issue, we find five places in Boerum Hill, four in Cobble Hill, one in Carroll Gardens, two in Gowanus, two in the Heights and one on Columbia Street.
For those who care, almost a third, or 78, of the 241 restaurants listed on the last page can be found on Smith Street.
A lot of attempts have been made to start this kind of publication. Most have failed The big winner so far is the Brooklyn Now Guide that covers 19 neighborhoods, mostly the brownstone neighborhoods. What makes the Local Menu Report quite different from all the rest is the clever decision to send it through the mail. You have to pick up all the others in local stores.
If I were a restaurant owner and wanted to get the word out, I’d use the mail.