As long as Monte's Venetian Room just sat there being Monte's—albeit a shuttered, out-of-action version of itself—there was a whiff of hope that he century-old restaurant would overcome its never-sufficiently-explained difficulties and reopen. And, in the last few weeks, when there was construction activity and permits issued, there was more of a whiff.
Today, that hope died. The space will reopen as a restaurant, but not as Monte's. Brownstoner reported that "a recent stroll by confirms that a restaurant will definitely be coming to 451 Carroll. This permit came in at the end of January to renovate the existing eating establishment. And a liquor license for 'Dominick's of Carroll Street' was posted on the window."
An Italian restaurant, I'm guessing, given the name. But I'll be surprised if they keep the murals or booths. And how can a restaurant possibly attract diners to this remote location without the pull of a decades-old reputation?
Montemarano's never had but one owner: the Montemarano family. (The restaurant's name is a shortened version of their moniker.) It was founded in 1906 by Angelo and Filomena Montemarano, newly arrived from Naples. Why they called it "Venetian," I have no idea, unless it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the nearby canal. During Prohibition, the joint remained open and made its own liquor. All seven of the Montemarano boys were born above the restaurant. All worked in it, but Nicholas went on to run it. He didn't accept credit cards until 1982. In 1978, he painted the nearby Carroll Street Bridge the colors of the Italian flag, very likely without City permission. The bridge was closed for repairs from 1985 to 1989, which hurt business. When the bridge reopened, Monte contributed a 100-foot hero sandwich that was only seven feet shorter than the bridge.