This is what the logic of “ripping the Band-Aid” would dictate, anyway. After last week’s news that the owners of Junior’s are shopping around their Downtown Brooklyn location to developers—the idea is to turn the site into a lucrative condo building with Junior’s at the base—The Brooklyn Paper issued a depressing report essentially acting as a reminder that none of Brooklyn’s beloved restaurants are really safe from the
blunt force siren song of development.
“No eatery currently operating in Brooklyn enjoys official city landmark status, meaning nothing but the continued entrepreneurial spirit of their owners stands between them and destruction,” the article notes, looking at the zoning for beloved institutions like Peter Luger, Nathan’s (the original Coney Island location), and L&B Spumoni Gardens that could easily swap their prime real estate for high-end residential construction that’d bring the owners exponentially more money (or in the case of Nathan’s, a proposed 20-story hotel that’s a part of the area’s recent re-zoning). The article also notes that even some restaurants that do manage to wrangle landmark status have ended up shutting down, like Lundy’s in Sheepshead Bay.
Things are tenuous out there! And look, a lot of these places are small and family-owned, far be it for me to begrudge anyone who’s put in years of work and decides they want to cash the hell out, even if we still hold out hope that they won’t. In any case, worth keeping in mind that the original article was purely speculative, so no need to mourn anything other than a specific branch of Junior’s just yet. One thing at a time. But making a special point of heading down to L&B or Totonno’s sometime soon? Never a bad idea.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.