23 March 2006

Moonstruck Strikes Again

In the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Monte Leone pastry shop on Court Street recently closed its doors and posted a sign in the window. Amazingly, it wasn't bad news. The sign said the shop would open again soon in collaboration with—wait for it—Cammareri Bakery.

Recognize the name? You should. The bakery, which once sat at the corner of nearby Henry Street and Sackett Street, was featured in the film "Moonstuck." Nicholas Cage's character, Ronny Cammerari, worked there. In fact, the filmmakers changed the name of Cage's character when they decided to use the bakery as a location. The store lived on reflected glory for a few years, with pictures of Cher up on the wall. But it closed in the late '90s in one of the saddest stories I've ever heard. The Cammerari who ran it lost his wife and was so dejected that he couldn't go on, so he gave up the shop and retired.

Since then, the location has been The Red Rail, which had a brief heyday as a Yuppie brunch hangout; then the Red Rail bar, which had no heyday whatsoever. Now, its the Carroll Gardens outpost of the overpriced Park Slope cafe Naidre's. Cammerari's was better than any of them. Another negative aspect of Cammerari's closing: Mazzola's, the bakery down the block, suddenly had no competition, so it started steadily jacking up prices.

So, to see that sign in the window of Monte Leone was like seeing a ghost. How could Cammerari be back? Did the sad old owner find a new wife? Did someone buy the rights to the name? And why does Monte Leone's, which has always done well, need a business partner? Stay tuned.

One odd side note: Monte Leone's used to be located on Columbia near Sackett, just a block from where Cammerari's once sat. They just can't stay apart.

1 comment:

nyccoffeegirl said...

Just to clarify- Cammareri's was a bakery, not a cafe, so to compare it to Naidre's is silly. The owners of the bakery chose to relocate over 10 years ago and make rent money from the location instead- they own the bulding- so don't act like they were pushed out by anyone. I agree that it will be nice to have their bread back in the area, but stop acting like all new businesses are spawn of the devil.