24 January 2011

What's Going on at Monte's?

I had given up Monte's Venetian Room—purported by some to have been the oldest Italian restaurant in Brooklyn—for dead. It mysteriously closed up shop in fall 2008, and has been quiet as the grave ever since, gathering dust inside and out, even as the interior remained intact.

But recently Pardon Me For Asking noticed that the Gowanus restaurant (located on Carroll near Nevins) noticed some activity around the property. There's a dumpster outside and paper on the windows, which indicates to me that the insides are being either gutted or renovated. Complaints filed in January with the Building Department state the work was begin done without a permit.

Monte's was founded in 1906 and is one of the last remnants of what was once a thriving Italian community along the Gowanus Canal. Frank Sinatra was rumored to be a patron (but then he seemed to have gone to every New York Italian joint at least once). It was last owned by Toni Monti. Nick Monte, his father, died on Oct. 13, 2007, at age 90.

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