Gage & Tollner opened in 1879 in downtown Brooklyn, arguably the borough’s oldest restaurant and bar, but closed in 2004 when a T.G.I. Friday took over its space.
But this isn’t that particular NYC gentrification story. In a happy twist of fate, it will be reopening in its original location in a few weeks! They announced via their Instagram account and Grub Street that its official re-opening date is Sunday, March 15.
According to the Brooklyn Eagle, in its heyday Gage & Tollner was an oyster and steakhouse that was visited by the likes of Truman Capote and Mae West, and was the first farm-to-table restaurant of its kind in the borough. It shuttered in 2004, and the space was filled by chain restaurants and jewelry stores over the years, but nothing seemed to last. It had officially been empty since 2016.
A few years ago, friends and restauranteurs Sohui Kim (chef, Insa / The Good Fork), Ben Schneider (Insa / The Good Fork), and St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance, Red Hook) were looking for their next project in the neighborhood. When they saw the space and learned about its history, they knew it was the perfect fit.
Apparently 375 people donated to the cause to help update and reopen the space (through a crowdfunding platform, of course).
And the menu will feature the same iconic dishes from the restaurant: chef Edna Lewis’s crab soup and broiled clam bellies, plus some new twists from chef Sohui Kim. Expect lots of delicious seafood. The dining room itself also had landmarked status, so the three restauranteurs worked diligently to restore the decor and architectural features while also modernizing the behind-the-scenes elements that are crucial to running a restaurant today.
featured image source: Instagram / @gage.and.tollner