Of all the boneheaded moves. Ultimate Burgers and Dogs has taken the old "Grocery & Deli" sign down from its Degraw Street storefront in Cobble Hill because it felt the signage was confusing folks. Reports Eater: "A call confirms: a worker there say some people in the neighborhood have complained because the sign has been there for over 20 years. But too many people came in wanting smokes and lighters."
I do not think I exaggerate when I say that bit of old signage was beloved in Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. It's been there for decades, ever since the small space actually was a grocery and deli. Italian grocery and deli. Call Louis', I believe. It was still there when I moved to the area in 1994. When the deli decamped, the old sign stayed, with its great retro Coca-Cola logos. It stayed through several new businesses, mainly restaurants: Whim, Chicory, etc. They all appreciated the sign. And the neighborhood appreciated them appreciating the sign.
I like Ultimate Burgers & Dogs. The owner's a good guy. He make great burgers, great dogs. But I don't believe him when he says people still come in the space looking but a pack of butts. Everyone in the area knows it hasn't been a deli for years. And how many strangers walk down that stretch of Degraw looking for cigarettes? He may be imagining that the sign is losing him business. But if business is slow, it's because that block has always been a challenge. There's not much traffic. It's out of the way and no other stores are near that store.
Just put the sign back. If you need to put out a big old banner saying "Ultimate Burgers and Dogs," do it. But keep the sign. You've inadvertently de-charmed your restaurant.
Also, there is this: That building is part of the Cobble Hill Historic District. Did they have permission from the Landmarks Commission to take down the sign and alter the building's facade. Hello?