During the weekend protest at Summerhill — a new Crown Heights restaurant that claimed to have “Instagrammable” decor and a “bullet hole-ridden wall” — locals asked to see the full language of the press release that incited a week of outrage.
The restaurant, located at 673 Nostrand Avenue, has become a lightning rod for ongoing gentrification and displacement discussions in the neighborhood. Owner Becca Brennan did not speak to protestors directly, but here, in full, is the original press release that she emailed to several publications last week, including Eater. Note: The claim that the holes came from bullet holes has since been debunked.
SUMMER OASIS SUMMERHILL OPENS IN CROWN HEIGHTS
Reformed Corporate Tax Attorney Turns Vacant Bodega into Surf Club-Style ‘Boozy Sandwich Shop’
CROWN HEIGHTS – An oasis has appeared on Nostrand Avenue just in time for the stickiest, sweatiest days of New York summer.
Summerhill is Crown Heights’ most Instagrammable, “let’s just crush some watermelon cocktails” hangout. With a boardwalk vibe and a killer cross-breeze, it’s easy to forget you’re sitting across the street from a Key Food and not the Rockaway break.
Helmed by Toronto transplant Becca Brennan, Summerhill serves up a high-low beer menu from Tecate to Evil Twin, rosé on tap, and bright cocktails with made-in-house purees, syrups, and herbal touches like celery shrub (featured in the #Vanlife), fresh watermelon juice and ginger syrup (in the Answer), torched rosemary (in the Dated Old Fashioned), and strawberry-basil puree (in the Summer Jam).
Summerhill’s food menu focuses on lovingly prepared, refreshingly unpretentious sandwiches like the Chicken Fried (hot chicken, buttermilk ranch, slaw and pickles) and the perfect BLT (applewood-smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, and beefsteak tomato, heightened by a garlic aioli), plus substantial vegetarian options (Brennan is a lifelong vegetarian) such as the Keep Austin Weird (panko-fried avocado, honey, jalapeno-pickled radish arugula, and red pepper aioli).
Brennan was a corporate tax attorney with daydreams of opening a boozy sandwich shop until she discovered the perfect piece of real estate around the corner from her Crown Heights apartment: a long-vacant corner bodega (with a rumored backroom illegal gun shop to boot). Brennan signed the lease, gave notice and proceeded to spend over a year painstakingly gut-renovating the space with an uncompromising vision: a surf club vibe with a large concrete horseshoe bar, massive accordion windows, and cheekily wallpapered bathrooms. (Yes, that bullet hole-ridden wall was originally there and, yes, we’re keeping it.)
The vision, says Brennan, was “to open a place that I could imagine working from all day; that feeling goes for our staff and our customers.”
Summerhill has quickly become a favorite among locals as a day-drinking magnet on sweltering summerafternoons. Come winter, Summerhill will provide a similar escape from the chill.
Since then, Brennan has issued an apology via publicists: “I deeply apologize for any offense that my recent comments might have caused. I did not intend to be insensitive to anyone in the neighborhood, and I am sorry that my words have caused pain. I made light of serious issues and that was wrong.”
See here for past coverage: