The end of May also meant the end of three neighborhood favorites around NYC: Williamsburg Southern comfort spot the Brooklyn Star, trailblazing Nolita Middle Eastern restaurant Balaboosta, and Downtown Brooklyn ramen shop Ganso.
Some nine years since opening in Williamsburg, Simon Gibson and Joaquin “Quino” Baca closed the Brooklyn Star over the weekend due to slowing business over the last two summers, as well as a rise in the cost of keeping the restaurant open. It moved once, but had been at the current space at 593 Lorimer St., at Conselyea Street, since 2011.
“Increases in wages with more to come, product cost and operating costs all add up and make it difficult to break even, that and the uncertainty of the L train going down and how that will effect business were all factors,” they said at the time of the announcement.
The restaurant’s long been a local favorite for souped-up versions of comfort food, with dishes like mac and cheese and biscuits. Tons of locals have been stopping in to say goodbye, with people posting photos of favorite dishes and lots of remembrances about the welcoming, homey feeling of the place.
Chef Einat Admony and husband/business partner Stefan Nafziger’s Balaboosta also shut its doors at the end of May, following eight years in Nolita and similarly citing operational costs as part of the reason. The restaurant, located at 214 Mulberry St. north of Spring Street, was critically praised when it opened in 2010.
And Downtown Brooklyn’s neighborhood noodle shop Ganso Ramen shuttered at the end of May, as well. The casual restaurant from owner Harris Salat opened in 2012 at 25 Bond St., at Livington Street, and gained traction as an affordable option with both ramen and Japanese snacks. It’s the final Ganso restaurant to close in Salat’s empire, which used to also include a sushi restaurant a yakitori restaurant. Here, too, a slew of people stopped by for final slurps, with several impassioned decrying the end of the restaurant’s tenure.
But despite word of rising costs and neighborhood changes, this isn’t the end of the road for any of these restaurateurs. Both Gibson and Baca are still in the industry: Gibson’s over at Wilfie & Nell in the West Village, and Baca’s planning to open a new, izakaya-style restaurant later this year in Bushwick, near the Ridgewood border.
Admony says that she’s seeking a new location for Balaboosta, and in an Instagram post last week, teased that it could be as early as this fall. She’s also moments away from opening couscous restaurant Kish-Kash in the West Village. And Salat is keeping his Downtown Brooklyn space, albeit for a restaurant that won’t be serving Japanese food.