05 November 2009

What's Going on With Monte's Venetian Room?

It's been more than a year since Monte's Venetian Room, one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Brooklyn (the oldest?) unceremoniously closed. As Gowanus Lounge reported at the time, the reason for the shuttering of the then-102-year-old landmark was unclear. A sign in the window said it was closed for renovations. But a tipster said they were closed by the City for “operating without a license.”

OK, questions. Whether it was closed for violating the law, or for renovations, shouldn't it have been easy to reopen? Yet, there it sits, dusty and abandoned. The inside has not been gutted. The bar, the banquettes, the old wooden phone booth (Wooden Phone Booth sighting!), the juke box—they're all there where they've always been.

City records show that perhaps the owners tried to reopen this year. There was an inspection on Feb. 4, 2009. Monte's incurred 19 violation points, including ones for improper plumbing, improper hand washing facility and spoiled food. The records show that no follow-up inspection was required, since the count was below 28.

There is one strange hint that we will never see Monte's reopen again: a message written in marker on the dirty front window: "We need to pick up the jukebox," with a phone number to call.

Nick Monte, the owner of Monte’s died on Oct. 13, 2007, at age 90. Monte’s father, Angelo, opened the Venetian Room in 1906, and Nick and his four brothers owned and operated the restaurant until 1993.


Anonymous said...

I grew up there. This is very sad. Bobby Monte

Jonathan said...

A few months ago, in the window of the real estate office at Smith and Degraw, there was a restaurant offered for sale, and it was Monte's.

Anonymous said...

Very sad, Bobby, I grew up there too.