>> Saturday, May 19, 2012

(don't forget to take the poll) ---->

Dear Mr. Brown, 

I think that I speak for all of Forest Hills when I say: "Please open a wine bar near Austin Street as soon as humanly possible".

But first, since this is my letter, let me just whine poetic for a spell and tell you exactly what I mean when I make this desperate plea.

The neighborhood needs a place where people can go with friends to chill out with wine and cheese and prosciutto. A place without loud music or ESPN on a television behind someone's head. In fact, a place with no televisions at all. The neighborhood needs a place where a guy like me can go on a date without having to scream a conversation or fight for a pair of bar stools or have someone's buffalo chicken sauce drip on my shirt. The neighborhood needs a place where you can kick back before or after or instead of dinner without feeling obligated to have an actual meal. The neighborhood has plenty of bars, and needs a little more class. The neighborhood needs a wine list that doesn't include Yellow Tail or Ecco Domani or Beringer. The neighborhood needs a destination location that can be accessed by subway so that my friends who don't live in the neighborhood don't have to drive and it needs to be good enough that they can't wait to return.

I think that you're the man for the job. It's the perfect time. Thanks to getting the only Michelin star in all of Queens, you put Forest Hills on the map. You have foodie street cred. Everyone in Forest Hills already loves your restaurant. And beyond. I took friends from out of town to have dinner at Danny Brown and they rave to this day. Hell, I was at Peter Luger and our waiter brought up how great your restaurant was (though exactly how that conversation started was lost on me. I blame too much steak).

You've already done most of the work. When your restaurant on Metropolitan first opened, it was supposed to be a wine bar. Now, it's an actual, full-on restaurant, but the wine list has already been made. The cheese plate menu is already created. The appetizers have already been honed. If you stick to the small stuff and don't offer entrees, you won't compete with yourself. I'll miss the organic chicken under a brick, but keep the grilled calamari with white beans and arugula and I'll order it every day.

Come on, man. We need it. I'm begging you. We've got nothing. Jade's about all there is, and they gave up on that cocktail lounge idea years ago. Exo wants to be a club without a dance floor. I like Irish Cottage and Dirty Pierre and Manor Oktoberfest but they're each about as romantic as a bent tin can. Tap House is a fratty sports bar, Billiard Club is a pool hall and don't get me started on that pit, Bartinis.

The closest thing we have to what I'm really talking about is Uvarara, which I love, but it's in Middle Village and couldn't be in a less convenient location if it tried. 

With EuroPan kaput, there's a good sized space right on 70th by restaurant row. It has big glass doors that can open to let in cool summer breezes and it's right where people would go to window shop menus. Or maybe check out where Best 1 Sushi used to be on 72nd. It's quieter, there's space for outdoor seating, and if you open with a small plates brunch menu, you'll grab everyone going to and from church. There are probably a dozen spots in the area that you could... nay, should consider.  

Anyway, think about it. And hey, maybe I'm way off base. Maybe no one really wants a Danny Brown Wine Bar on the Austin Street corridor. But I think they do. I know I do. 

Jon Parker



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