BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The historic Gage and Tollner restaurant is about to make a comeback 140 years after it served its first meal.
"The room is in pretty good shape. It’s really about attending to the details and turning the lights down and servicing some great food," said restaurant partner Ben Schneider.
Details include gas light fixtures, brass coat hooks, cherry wood trimmed mirrors and a mahogany bar that have stood the test of time. Now three Brooklyn restaurateurs have partnered up to usher in a new era of fine dining on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
"We’re going to have a raw bar over there with just mountains of crushed ice with oysters and lobsters and crabs," said restaurant partner St. John Frizell.
Frizell who is known for his restaurant Fort Defiance in Red Hook teamed up with the husband and wife owners of The Good Fork in Red Hook for this new venture. They raised more than $400,000 in an online fundraising campaign to reopen the restaurant. They say the menu here will not only be classic oysters and chops but also dishes that build on the rich history of Gage and Tollner.
"Edna Lewis, one of my culinary heroes, used to cook here and she was sort of the last well-known chef to do so. So I want to run through her recipes and her cookbooks and pay homage to her as well," said partner and chef Sohui Kim.
The restaurant closed in 2004 after a decline in business and became a TGI Fridays, an Arby’s and a 99 cents store. It’s been vacant for the past two years. But with Downtown Brooklyn undergoing a revitalization over the past decade, experts say the time is ripe for a reboot.
"New offices, new shopping, and over 10,000 new housing units so we really think it’s that combination that will really make sure there’s enough demand for a full-service restaurant here on Fulton Street," said Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
In addition to the main dining room which will seat about 100 people, there will two private event rooms upstairs and a cocktail bar. The hope is to have this place shine once again for a grand opening this fall and to become an anchor for nightlife in Downtown Brooklyn.
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