The status of the Long Island Restaurant has been a puzzlement since the old Brooklyn diner yanked down the roller shutter back in September. But the door the low-key, 56-year-old landmark may swing open soon.
Tired of looking at the darkened eatery and not knowing what was up, I stopped inside the Atlantic Avenue bodega kitty-corner from the place and asked it they had any news. The man behind the counter at first didn't even seem to known what I was talking about. He then offered his belief that the owner was still "in Mexico or Spain." (Spain, actually, and that's old news.) But then a slumped figure in an old blue winter coat and wool cap, leaning on the ice cream bin, spoke up. "No, she's back from Spain!" he croaked.
This was Nick, a grizzled old neighborhood character. And he had the goods on Emma Sullivan, owner of the LI Restaurant. Yes, indeed, she had journeyed to her native Spain for a visit, as has been widely rumored. But it wasn't she who fell and hurt herself there, delaying her return—another rampant rumor. It was her 100-year-old mother! (Who knew that old Emma Sullivan had an even older mother?)
Emma waited on her ma to get better, hoping they might fly back together. But, according to Nick, the Iberian doc advised that the old lady was too old and too injured to travel and it was best to just let her rest there on La Mancha. And so, finally, two weeks ago Emma returned Stateside. Nick said she hopes to reopen the restaurant soon, but may wait as much as a month so that the coldest weather of the winter is behind her.
Now, this is all coming from a old deli loiterer. But I trust Nick, who seemed to have his information down solid, and I think he's got the skinny. Glad to have Emma back and to know the Long Island Restaurant will be serving up grub and brew again soon.