Yesterday was the end of Dine-In Brooklyn, that magical 10-day period when some restaurants offer prix-fixe options for a novelty price based on what year it is. Of course, many people still just order off the regular menu because one of the nice things about going out to eat is having a lot of choices about what you’re going to order. Plus, having had many friends who have worked at restaurants during this type of promotional gimmick, the customers who tend to take advantage of a three-course meal priced at $20.13 are not exactly the kind of people who are going to become regulars or anything. So, many high-profile restaurants don’t bother participating in Dine-In Brooklyn. But! It’s one thing not to do something because you don’t want to. What if you weren’t even asked? How terrible would that feel?
According to Bushwick restaurant manager Joshua Vazquez, it feels pretty terrible. Vazquez, who manages Bushwick’s Brooklyn Fireproof East, told DNAinfo, “I didn’t hear anything about signing up for it or participating. There are tons of great restaurants in Bushwick, and we’re in Brooklyn, too. I saw fliers for it in Williamsburg, and I thought, ‘Why weren’t we informed?'” DNAinfo goes on to note that there were no Bushwick restaurants involved this year, despite there being almost two dozen from Williamsburg. A rep from Marty Markowitz’s office “noted that any restaurant could apply to participate, and noted organizers tried to do outreach around the borough.”
So then what happened? Were neighborhoods like Bushwick excluded because they were just too far out in Brooklyn and therefore unworthy of the elite Dine-In Brooklyn clientele? Um, no. Probably not. DNAinfo claims that “other neighborhoods like Windsor Terrace, Flatbush and Canarsie also had no participants,” but this is actually wrong. Windsor Terrace had two participants (Hamilton’s and Le P’tit Paris) which is approximately 75% of the entire Windy T restaurant population. Plus, it’s true that there weren’t any restaurants involved from Flatbush or Canarsie, but outlying neighborhoods like Mill Basin, Gravesend, and Dycker Heights were represented. And even though Park Slope had the most restaurants involved, the second most-represented neighborhood was Bay Ridge. And while Bay Ridge’s golden son Henry Stewart had this to say about the dining scene there, “Bay Ridge has a huge concentration of restaurants, many of which have been open for decades.They may not be the hippest in the borough—though, you know, we have Tanoreen—but we’ve been eating well long before cool chefs decided to cross the river,” it’s worth noting that Bushwick’s culinary scene has been talked about a bit more as of late than that of Bay Ridge. Thus, it doesn’t seem likely that Bushwick was shut out because it wasn’t cool enough. If Bay Ridge is cool enough, literally anywhere is.
So then why was Bushwick shut out? Well, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it’s just a case of the restaurants in Bushwick not wanting to take advantage of this particular program. After all, somewhere like Roberta’s doesn’t exactly need to worry about getting more publicity. And for the places like Brooklyn Fireproof East that wish they could have been involved? Well, this event happens every year. Maybe if you really want to be a part of it, give yourself a calendar alert or something? Those alerts are very effective. I’d never remember to give my dog her heart worm medicine otherwise. And that would be terrible.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen