Restaurant Grand Opening Celebrates New Food, Jobs In Bed-Stuy
A new restaurant opening in Brooklyn serves up not only a varied menu, but also some much needed jobs. NY1's Milanee Kapadia was at the grand opening of Applebee's in Bedford Stuyvesant, and she filed the following report.
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Customers lined up outside the new neighborhood restaurant in Bedford Stuyvesant. Inside, the Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill was packed. The grand opening of the restaurant brings more than just moderately priced food to the area. It also brings jobs.
Ninety-nine percent of them are all from here; a number of them live across the street. Most of them walk to work," says Applebee's owner Zane Tankel. "You can't be in a neighborhood without neighborhood people here."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the ribbon on the restaurant, which is part of a larger project to develop the whole plaza. It's spearheaded by the community development group Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The $700,000 project aims to bring additional business to what has been a lower income area.
"There is room for this restaurant to coexist with the existing restaurants. People eat a lot; people eat out a lot. They have a taste for different cuisine," says Colvin Grannum of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. "I think, if anything, this is going to keep more people in the community and build additional traffic flow, which everybody should benefit from."
The addition of a restaurant such as Applebee's means a lot of things. It means more employment and more investment, but it may also mean potentially higher rents.
"There is investment coming into the community. The challenge for people like me and others in government is to ensure that the area not only maintains its racial balance, in terms of racial diversity, but also that it maintains income diversity," says Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
But those who came to chow down were only concerned about the food.
"I love it," says one resident. "I don't have to go all the way to Queens any more."
"I've been living for over 20 years. Because of the restoration center, it's coming back, and the Applebee's is a good addition," added another resident.
If all customers feel the same, then the Applebee's may start a trend for the neighborhood.
- Milanee Kapadia